The controversy surrounding the suicide of the Dalit research scholar, Rohith Vemula, deepened when his mother, Radhika, and brother, Raja, accused the Union HRD minister, Smriti Irani, of lying in the parliament. They demanded the minister’s resignation and a thorough probe. Here’s a report.
Radhika Vemula, mother of Rohith, the Dalit boy who committed suicide in the Hyderabad Central University hostel, lashed out at the Union HRD minister, in a recent press conference, in New Delhi.
The political storm surrounding the death of the Dalit research scholar deepened, when she accused Irani of “lying in the parliament”. The minister was defending herself in an emotive speech, against serious accusations, on Thursday.
Radhika is camping with her other son, Raja, in New Delhi. She reminded the minister that it was not the small screen were she could act. “It’s our life,” she rued. She added that if Irani could not unearth the facts she should not fabricate these.
She said that a letter sent by HRD ministry branded some students, including Rohith, as ‘extremists’, without any substance. Radhika asked if Irani is a mother and if she felt the pain of a mother. She added that she had brought up her three sons working as a tailor after her divorce.
In a scathing attack, she stated that Irani had lied that no doctor was allowed near Rohith’s body for hours. She produced documents to prove her point.
She and her son, Raja, demanded that Irani should resign. They also said that Bandaru Dattatreya too should put in his papers. Furthermore, a special investigation team (SIT) must set up a probe against them, including the HCU vice chancellor Podile Apparao.
Raja informed that his brother had written a letter to the VC Apparao in December. He had talked about suicide and discriminations faced by Dalits students. He wanted to know why Irani hid this letter. He rubbished the minister’s claim that no doctor was allowed to come near his brother’s body by protesting students.
He informed that he had reached the university at 8.30pm that day. He verified that a doctor and policemen were inside.