Dalit student suicide: Congress seeks probe into Smriti’s conduct

January 21, 2016 12:02 am | Updated December 04, 2021 11:00 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The Congress on Wednesday did not restate its demand for the resignation of Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani with regard to the suicide of Dalit PhD scholar Rohith Vemula. Instead, the party sought a probe into Ms. Irani’s conduct by a sitting High Court judge.

In a press briefing, Congress spokesperson Deepender Singh Hooda also called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “break his silence and take concrete action,” which also meant sacking of Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya.

“What has shocked the entire nation today is that in the first instance, Hyderabad University Vice-Chancellor Appa Rao publicly justified the suspension of five Ph.D. scholars while going out of the way to defend the HRD Ministry,” said Mr. Hooda.

“And within an hour, HRD Minister Ms. Irani shamelessly defended the Central University’s action against five PhD Dalit scholars and dismissed this grave human tragedy as a law and order issue being investigated by the police.”

Mr. Hooda also demanded immediate sacking of Mr. Appa Rao and immediate withdrawal of suspension of four other Dalit scholars.

A day earlier, Congress leader and party spokesperson Kumari Selja demanded that both Ms. Irani and Mr. Dattatreya should resign or else Mr. Modi should sack them.

On his visit to Hyderabad on Tuesday, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi also attacked Ms. Irani and Mr. Dattatreya saying the duo had “not acted fairly,” pushing the Dalit scholar to end his life.

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