Opposition demands probe into Muthukrishnan's death

CPI MP D. Raja consoles Muthukrishnan's father in New Delhi on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Opposition members in Rajya Sabha demanded a through probe into the alleged suicide of J. Muthukrishnan, a Dalit reserach scholar from Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The 27-year-old student from Salem in Tamil Nadu was found hanging in his friend's room two days back. While the police claim he would have committed suicide due to "personal reasons", Muthukrishnan's family and friends deny it.

Raising the issue during the Zero Hour, CPI MP D. Raja sought a "thorough probe into the death." "Why did this Dalit student in JNU took this drastic step," asked Mr. Raja and alleged that there is a discriminatory admission policy in universities.

Muthukrishnan, in his Facebook posts had mentioned about it.

"When Rohit Vemula died, there were talks on enacting a law (on discrimination in educational institutions). Where is it?" Mr. Raja questioned.

He was joined by DMK MPs Tiruchi Siva and Kanimozhi. "Dalit students are handicapped by several things... Economic deprivation and social discrimination," said Mr. Siva. Ms. Kanimozhi pointed out his father said Muthukrishnan was not depressed. 

Soon the entire opposition backed Mr. Raja. JD(U)'s Ali Anwar Ansari also raised the issue of missing JNU student Najeeb. Samajwadi Party member Ram Gopal Yadav sought a statement from the HRD minister on "continuous discrimination against deprived sections." CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yachury also echoed the demand.

Responding to Opposition's questions, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government is committed to make universities better places for students.

Ms. Sitharaman informed the House that she visited the mortuary and also met the father and guardian of the deceased student. She said she spoke to student leaders.

Admitting that a First Information Report was not filed in 48 hours, Ms. Sitharaman said the Home Minister instructed the Police to file an FIR invoking sections related to SC/ST Act and abetment to suicide.

She said she has submitted a report to Home Minister Rajnath Singh with statements of Professors, parents and friends. She said she has also mentioned that "the university has not considered Prof. Thorat committee's recommendations on improving conditions for marginalised students.

Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha P.J. Kurien, who was in the Chair said: "Many Dalit students think they are being discriminated. The government should find out whether this is true."

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 4:38:22 PM |

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