Smriti, Mayawati lock horns over Rohith Vemula issue

smriti-irani-pti (File) HRD Minister Smriti Irani | PTI

The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday saw angry exchanges between Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani and BSP leader Mayawati over the suicide of research scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad university.

Mayawati raised the issue of Vemula's suicide, and blamed the central government for it. She also asked if the committee probing the incident had a Dalit member.

The Bahujan Samaj Party leader also demanded a separate discussion on the issue.

The pre-lunch session saw multiple adjournments over the issue as BSP members gathered near the chairman's podium and raised slogans.

When the house met at 2 pm, Irani said she was ready to answer questions raised by the BSP leader.

A visibly agitated Irani first challenged BSP leader Satish Chandra Misra.

"Talk face to face Satish ji, I am ready to reply," Irani said.

"Mayawati ji, I request, you are a senior member and a woman, you want an answer, I am ready to reply. If you are not satisfied with my answer, I will cut my head and put it in your feet," the minister said.

In response, Mayawati asked if a Dalit member will be there in the judicial committee.

"A Dalit professor was there whose decision you would not have accepted... You want to say Mayawati ji, a Dalit is a Dalit only if Mayawati ji gives a certificate?" Irani said, causing a huge uproar among the protesting members.

Angry exchanges took place between Irani and Mayawati amid the din, as BSP members raised slogans calling the government "anti-Dalit".

In the din, the house was adjourned for 15 minutes.

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