The Scheduled Caste Morcha of the BJP has claimed that the suicide by the University of Hyderabad student Rohith Vemula could have been an act of “atonement” after being caught up in Leftist politics.
Spelling out what he thought of the episode, morcha chief Dushyant Gautam told The Hindu that the party’s Dalit front was convincing members of the community that the whole controversy was a “political conspiracy”.
“I think atonement and regret about the fact that he was sent by his family to study but got led astray by Left politics was the reason for his unfortunate step,” Mr. Gautam claimed. “He was under debt. He did not name anyone as the reason for his suicide.”
“Ambedkarites and Dalits can never be anti-national. Ambedkar was a great nationalist. Rohith Vemula and his friends openly supported Yakub Memon, who was awarded the death sentence on charges of terror,” Mr.Gautam said.
The BJP’s line has undergone a subtle shift in the past few days.
To begin with, the party tried to defend its Union Ministers Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani, who were accused of interfering in the affairs of the university on behalf of a student activist of the ABVP, the party’s student affiliate. The BJP has said that the Ministers’ letters were a routine act of forwarding complaints.
However, Scheduled Castes’ Commission Chairman P.L. Punia has said that Rohith was a Dalit as he had been brought up by a Dalit mother. “We haven’t been told in a centralised manner that this is the party line. But many leaders have said it as it is a fact the student’s father is an OBC,” a BJP spokesperson said.