A day after Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani tried to put forth her point of view based on “facts” in the Rohith Vemula suicide case, teachers of the University of Hyderabad on Thursday pricked holes in her “facts”, saying that they were “misleading” and “far from truth”.
These teachers, belonging to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, also threatened to quit their administrative posts, even as university’s students’ indefinite protest continued, in the aftermath of the suicide by Vemula, the expelled dalit scholar of the university, on Sunday.
The university remained closed for the fourth successive day on Thursday as students’ protest on the campus entered 15th day. Seven students are on hunger strike. As a mark of protest, students burnt an effigy of Irani.
Smriti Irani said in New Delhi on Wednesday that a dalit had headed a sub-committee of the executive council that had suspended five dalit research scholars, including Vemula, in November.
But the scheduled caste/scheduled tribe teachers’ and officers’ forum took her to task, saying that Vipin Srivastava, a professor of physics, who headed the six-member sub-committee, was not a dalit.
“Only one dwas part of the panel and that too was a co-opted member, who has no decision making power,” said the forum.
The co-opted member was Professor P. Prakash Babu, dean, students’ welfare. Babu heads the SC/ST Forum.
Smriti Irani had tried to impress that dalit students’ protest and Vemula’s protest was not a ‘dalit versus non-dalit’ battle as some people were trying to make it out to be. “We are seated before you with facts and not conjecture, I again say it that it’s not a dalit vs non-dalit issue,” she said.
She also said that the warden of the hostel, from where the dalit students were expelled, was also a dalit.
The SC/ST Forum countered this too, saying that the warden had no power to expel any student and he merely implemented the order given by his superior.
Meanwhile, politicians continued to make beeline to meet the university students, teachers and administrators.
On Thursday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati were to visit the university.