Political slugfest over dalit student suicide continues

Political slugfest over dalit student suicide continues

The political slugfest over the suicide by a dalit student in Hyderabad continued unabated today with Congress and other opposition parties calling it a "national shame" and unrelenting in their demand for sacking of Union ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya.

The BJP on its part hit back at the opposition parties on their criticism of the Modi government over the incident, claiming they were using the "opportunity for cheap political advantage" while its ally LJP sought an "independent probe" by CBI or some other agency.

"We demand that Union Minister Smriti Irani should be sacked for attempting to hide facts along with Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, against whom an FIR has been lodged," Congress chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala told reporters in Delhi.

Insisting that Irani "justified the unfairness" meted out to Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide, and four other suspended Dalit students, Surjewala said, "She is the custodian of all universities. She committed the unpardonable sin of lying to the nation. She spoke a number of lies to cover up a lie."

"...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 clashes earlier, also belonged to the OBC community as was Dattatreya, who had written a letter to her about the attack.

Calling the suicide a "national Shame", Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal flew down to Hyderabad to give his backing to the agitating students of Hyderabad Central University(HCU) and accused the Centre of trying to indulge in "casteist politics".

Hitting out at Irani, the AAP chief while addressing the agitating students said her statement yesterday about Rohith Vemula's death as well as subsequent agitation by the university's students was a clear attempt to make it a caste issue for which she must apologise.

Kejriwal accused Irani of misleading the country on the issue, saying "attempts are being made to paint it as a caste issue. Irani must apologise for trying to indulge in casteist politics."

He further said "her statement was disgraceful. She spoke lies after lies. She was even trying to create confusion over his (Rohith) caste."

JD-U demanded immediate removal of Irani and Dattatreya and pushed for a CBI inquiry into the whole episode.

JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav also described the suicide as a "national shame" and accused the government of working against the interests of students from deprived sections of the society.

AAP leader Sanjay Singh accused Irani of "misleading" the nation over the incident and demanded the immediate "imprisonement" of Dattatreya, who has been booked in the case.

Rejecting Opposition allegations against the Centre and Dattatraya, who has been booked in the suicide case, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the Central government as well as the two two ministers concerned have nothing to do with the alleged suicide.

"The Congress and the opposition parties were using the opportunity for cheap political advantage", he told reporters in Kanyakumari.

LJP Parliamentary Board Chairman Chirag Paswan sought a thorough probe into the issue by "an independent investigating agency like CBI or any other body."

"There is a need to find out what led to Rohith to take this extreme step. The probe should be carried out by some independent investigating agency -- be it CBI or some other. I am not saying that only CBI should probe it," he told reporters in Delhi.

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