Dalit student suicide: Sack Irani and Dattatreya, says BSP

January 19, 2016 06:46 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 03:11 am IST - LUCKNOW:

Holding them directly responsible for the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, the Bahujan Samaj Party on Tuesday demanded the immediate sacking of Union Ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya. The party also demanded that P. Appa Rao, Vice Chancellor of the Hyderabad University, be booked for murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

“Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya Should step down taking moral responsibility. If not, Prime Minister Modi should ask for their resignations. They are as big culprits as the VC (for the incident),” Swami Prasad Maurya, senior BSP leader, told The Hindu .

Mr. Maurya, the leader of the Opposition in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, demanded that Mr. Rao, against whom an FIR has already been lodged, be booked for murder. As the issue does not concern the State the BSP would not raise it in the State Assembly session scheduled at the end of this month. However, Mr. Maurya said, as the issue was “grave” it would be raised in Parliament.

“The letter written to the V-C by Rohith clearly showed his inner-stress, how he was harassed and intimidated, and what Dalit students suffer. Ms. Irani should have called for a fair probe but instead the authorities acted harshly. This incident exposes the anti-Dalit mindset of the BJP leaders, who even after 66 years of independence cannot digest the existence of Dalits,” Mr. Maurya said.

The outrage over the suicide is expected to give the BSP further ammunition to attack the BJP on the issue of atrocity against Dalits. Incidentally, it comes just ahead of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Lucknow on January 22, when he will attend the convocation ceremony of the Dr. Bhimrao Ambedar University. Mr. Modi will also pay homage at the Ambedkar Mahasabha, where the ashes of the Dalit icon are stored.

Meanwhile, the outrage over the issue spread to the Allahabad University where students staged a protest demanding justice for Mr. Vemula. “Not only do we want to express solidarity, we are also anxious that such things could happen in our campus,” Rama Shankar Singh, a research scholar said.

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