Facing a raging protest coupled with onslaught by political parties over the suicide of a research scholar at Hyderabad university, Union Minister Smriti Irani today alleged that a malicious attempt was being made to project it as a “dalit versus non-dalit issue to ignite passions” for political gains.
Irani, flanked by two senior Cabinet colleagues Thaawar Chand Gehlot and Nirmala Sitharaman, addressed a press conference where she strongly refuted allegations of interference and putting pressure on the university authority to take action against the dalit students.
“This is not a dalit versus non-dalit issue as being projected by some to ignite passions.... A malicious attempt is being made to show it as a caste battle which it is not,” the Human Resource Development Minister said.
She said even the suicide note by Rohith Vermula, the dalit student, did not mention any MP or political party responsible for his decision to take the extreme step.
Accusing the Congress of trying to use the issue for political gains, Irani also referred to a letter written to the Ministry by party MP Hanumantha Rao in September 2014 where he had talked about suicides by marginalised students in the university for over four years.
“Congress wants to shoot on this issue which is expected but unfortunate.... The Congress MP says that this problem persisted for four years. If they (Congress) had fixed the problem four years ago, perhaps Rohith’s life could have been saved,” Irani said.
The Minister said the two-member fact finding committee which was sent to the university by the HRD Ministry will return tonight and file its report after which further details will be known in the case which is sub-judice.