Dalit student issue: Cong demands apology from PM

New Delhi: Latching on to the revocation of suspension of four Dalit scholars of Hyderabad University, Congress today demanded immediate sacking of HRD Minister Smriti Irani and Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and an apology by the Prime Minister for Irani’s “misconduct”.

“Belated decision of Hyderabad Central University to revoke the suspension of four dalit Ph.D. scholars (colleagues of deceased Rohith Vemula) proves the guilt, complicity and collusion of BJP-ABVP-University authorities in perpetuating anti-poor, anti-dalit agenda on the University campus”.

“Regrettably, had this decision been taken prior to 17th January, 2016; Rohith Vemula would have been alive today,” party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said in a strongly- worded statement.

He said that the decision to revoke order confirmed the “lies, deception and falsehood” meted out by the HRD Minister.

“It also establishes the completely illegal and unconstitutional pressure used by HRD Ministry earlier leading to suspension of five dalit Ph.D. scholars and consequent suicide of Rohith Vemula”, he said.

Besides, he claimed that it “confirmed” the role of Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya; BJP MLC Ramachandra Rao; ABVP activists; University Vice-Chancellor Appa Rao and others.

Congress, he said, therefore, demands that Irani and Dattatreya as also Appa Rao should be immediately sacked.

He wanted a sitting High Court judge to inquire into the role of Irani, Dattatreya and University authorities.

Fair and adequate compensation along with a job should be given to the family of Rohith, he said, adding that “above all, Prime Minister Narendra Modi must apologize to the Nation.”

Earlier in the day at a press conference, he stepped up the attack on the HRD Minister demanding that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with his ministerial colleagues should apologise to the nation and dalits for her “misconduct of misleading the nation”

“…Irani is lying through her teeth in a bid to protect the ABVP leader. She is misleading the nation by giving false information,” Surjewala said, seeking to dismiss the claims of Irani on the issue.

Irani had yesterday said that the ABVP leader, who was attacked in student rivalry earlier, also belonged to the OBC community as was Dattatreya, who had written a letter to her about the attack.

In the statement later, he said, “HRD Minister shockingly and shamelessly lied to the Nation, manufactured non-existent facts and misstated the complete set of events, purely with a view to defend the illegal intervention by her ministerial colleague, Shri Bandaru Dattatreya…”.