Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday threw his weight behind the University of Hyderabad students protesting the suicide by dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula while charging Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani for speaking “one lie after another” on the sensitive issue.
While addressing a gathering of students in Hyderabad, Kejriwal demanded immediate resignation of the university Vice-Chancellor Appa Rao Podile. He said he was even ready to go to his office and demand his resignation but the students stopped him from doing that as they had no more respect for him.
“Smriti Irani ji spoke one lie after another. She tried to create controversy over Rohith’s caste,” said Kejriwal. He said Irani should apologise to the nation
“The NDA is not for Hindus, Muslims or dalits. They didn’t nothing even for Hindus. They are here [in government] only for power,” he said.
Kejriwal also warned PM Narendra Modi to not to take students lightly. “I would like to tell the PM not to take on students; the day students rise in protest your office will not survive,” he thundered.
Then, Kejriwal slammed Union Minister of Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya, a BJP MP.
“It’s shameful that a union minister used words like ‘extremist, casteist and anti-national’ in his letter [to HRD Ministr Smriti Irani over the dalit students’ issues],” he said. “Discussing and talking about Baba Saheb Ambedkar ji and his views cannot be called anti-national.”
Irani had defended fellow Dattatreya on Wednesday.
Kejriwal said that without conducting any probe into the matter, action was taken against the dalit students of the university.
Vemula, 26, committed suicide by hanging himself with a rope on Sunday. He left a suicide note, which read: “No one is responsible for my act of killing myself.”
Vemula and a few of his friends were camping outside the university campus and he and four other dalit students were allegedly expelled from the university hostel after a tussle with students affiliated with, Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the BJP. Tuesday was the 13th day they were camping outside the university.
The BJP-led government is currently at the centre and Iranji is part of it. Some media reports said that Venmula was expelled allegedly at the behest of two ministers of the Narendra Modi’s cabinet — Smriti Irani and Dattatreya.