Dalit scholar suicide: 10 SC/ST teachers resign over Irani's remarks

PTI1_20_2016_000228A Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani showing the suicide note written by Hyderabad University's research scholar Rohith Vemula, at a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday | PTI

The political slugfest over the suicide of Dalit research scholar of University of Hyderabad intensified on Thursday with about 10 SC/ST teachers tendering their resignations after it was announced that Dalit faculty members would also be probed for their role in expelling Rohith Vemula.

Union HRD minister Smriti Irani has said there was a "malicious attempt to project it as a caste battle," saying it was not a "Dalit versus non-Dalit issue". She also added that a Dalit professor was also part of the executive committee that decided to suspend students including Rohith, who committed suicide.

The protesting students and professors took objection to Irani's remarks and accused her of misleading the nation on the issue.

According to media reports, Prakash Babu, Dean of Students Welfare and member of SC/ST Teachers and Officers Forum, has said that there was no representation from Dailt community in “the executive council since the university's inception."

Meanwhile, political leaders are making a beeline at the University of Hyderabad campus to show their support to protesting students.

On Wednesday, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury sought President Pranab Mukherjee's intervention.

The president is Visitor of the university.

Addressing the students, Yechury demanded the sacking of central ministers Irani and Dattatreya and also the vice chancellor, saying all three were part of a criminal conspiracy.

He called the probe ordered by the ministry an eyewash, saying a judicial or CBI investigation should be ordered.

When Republican Party of India leader Ramdas Athawale came to the campus, he had to face the ire of students who asked him to first withdraw support to the BJP-led NDA government. Police escorted him out.

YSR Congress party chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy also met the students and demanded action against the guilty.

Trinamool Congress MPs Derek O'Brien and Pratima Mondal also met the students.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will visit Hyderabad on Thursday to meet the family of Rohith, an official said.

(With inputs from IANS)

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