Rohith Vemula’s suicide not a Dalit vs non-Dalit conflict: Smriti Irani

New Delhi : Union Human Resource and Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday asserted that the suicide of Rohith Vemula was not a Dalit versus a non-Dalit confrontation and attempts were being made to ‘ignite passion’ in the case of the Dalit scholar’s death across communities.

“This is not a Dalit versus non-Dalit issue as some people are trying to portray. There has been a malice attempt to ignite passions and present this as a caste battle it is not. This is an issue which is being investigated by local police and sub judice in the High Court,” she told the media here.

She alleged that the suicide note of Rohith, which was being circulated across the media, was not the authorized copy and read out a quote from the original letter in which no political organisation or politician was being held responsible for his fate.

“We requested the police to give us the copy of the suicide note so that rumors can be laid to rest. I hold that note in my hand and it does not mention any university official, any national political organization or any MP. I quote him, ‘to the ASA (Ambedkar Students Association) family, I am sorry for disappointing you, you loved me very much but there is some bad water in us. I wish all the very best for the future’, this is the only reference to any organization in the suicide note that we have procured from the local police,” Irani said.

Stressing that attempts were being made to misrepresent the facts in the case, she requestes to not encourage any ‘rumor mongering’ in the case and she called on the people to be extremely responsible since it was easy to ignite passions and then regret at leisure.

“We are seated before you with facts and not conjecture and I again say it that it’s not a Dalit versus a non-Dalit issue. We have sent a fact-finding team recognizing it is the jurisdiction of the state government,” Irani said.

She hit out at the Congress for trying to politicise the issue and said that they did not know the concept of ‘following’ procedure in a case.

“When an MP communicates to us, we have to seek facts from the University. Congress wants to shoot politically on this issue and that is expected from them but unfortunate. This problem persisted during the Congress rule also, if they had fixed this four years ago, possibly Rohith would have been alive today,” she said.

The Congress has been demanding the resignations of the HRD Minister, Minister of State for Bandaru Dattatreya and Hyderabad University Vice Chancellor Appa Rao over the Dalit scholar’s suicide.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who visited the University of Hyderabad yesterday, said that the varsity Vice Chancellor Appa Rao and Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya created the situation that made Rohith Vemula, a Dalit scholar studying there, kill himself.

“I agree with the students here. Rohith committed suicide but the conditions for his suicide were created by the VC and the minister,” Gandhi said.

Vemula, who belonged to Guntur district of Amravati, was found hanging in his hostel room on Sunday. He was doing his PhD in science technology and society studies for the past two years.

The protests escalated yesterday over Rohith’s suicide with activists demonstrating outside the residence of Dattatreya, who has been accused of abetment of the Dalit scholar’s suicide and demanded his resignation. (ANI)