Two days after Hyderabad Central University PhD scholar Rohith Vemula committed suicide, the political mudslinging has begun with national and regional parties in the arena.
In a much publicised visit to Hyderabad Central University on Monday, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said that union Minister for State for Labour Bandaru Dattatreya created the conditions for Rohith Vemula’s suicide.
“Rohith committed suicide but the conditions for his suicide were created by the VC and the minister (Bandaru Dattatreya). There should be no discrimination on the basis of caste. Rohith came to university with a certain hope,” he told the students.
BJP Spokesperson Krishna Sagar Rao, however, said that TRS and other parties are trying to get political mileage over the issue with an eye on the GHMC elections.
He told The News Minute “When there is a suicide note, world over, investigations depend on what is written in it. Rohith has clearly mentioned in his suicide note that he took the step on his own and not under any pressure. He has not mentioned anywhere in the note about his hurt feelings because of suspension. It is only philosophical. He clearly says that he decided to take this extreme step because of personal problems. He mentions that he had an isolated and unappreciated child.”
Asked whether it right for the labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya to call the ASA “anti-national”, Rao said that a cabinet minister is also entitled to his opinions as an individual. “You could hang him for that, but Dattatreya stands by his remark. He has not used an unparliamentary word and he accused a whole group of people and not an individual,” he said, adding that Dattatreya wouldn't have been involved if the ABVP had not approached him.
YSRCP leader Nalla Suryaprakash said "The Vice Chancellor has the blessings of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and some central leaders. The issue was boiling since long and with the suicide of the student, it has reached a flash point which the authorities are trying to hush up. We demand a CBI inquiry and the dismissal of Vice Chancellor."
CPI (M) on the other hand, released a party statement, which said "The CPI(M)demands the VC be booked immediately. The Central government must conduct a thorough enquiry into this incident in this prestigious Central University that was established by law by the Parliament of India...under these circumstances, the Politburo condemns the VC's motivated decision that led to this suicide and demands action against him."
The Congress has also made multiple statements via various spokespersons, with the strong demand of sacking the Vice-chancellor and removing the minister from the cabinet.
Even the ruling TRS party has blamed the BJP with Nizamabad MP K Kavitha saying "Dattatreya was solely responsible for the death of the scholar, who had undergone immense mental disturbance and agony due to the university action. We demand the revocation of the suspension on the remaining four scholars before more serious situation arises on the campus."
Many other national leaders including Arvind Kejriwal also condemned the incident. Kejriwal tweeted on Monday:
It's not suicide. It's murder. It's murder of democracy, social justice n equality.Modi ji shd sack ministers n aplogoize to the nation(2/2)— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 19, 2016
Modi govt constitutionally duty bound to uplift dalits. Instead Modi ji's ministers got five dalit students ostracised n suspended(1/2)— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 19, 2016
BSP chief Mayawati has sent a two-member team to the university to ascertain the situation. BJD chief Nitish Kumar tweeted:
Deeply saddened at the tragic death of Dalit student Rohit Vemula in Hyd. Govt must ensure fair probe & action against those responsible.— Nitish Kumar (@NitishKumar) January 19, 2016