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Under attack from the Opposition for mishandling both the Jawaharlal Nehru University and Hyderabad University crises, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani delivered an aggressive response. Here’s what she said.
On Rohith Vemula expulsion
What Ms.Irani said: It was the Executive Council appointed by the UPA Government that expelled him.
Fact: The decision to expel him first was taken during the temporary tenure of Professor R.P. Sharma in September 2015 and a proctoral board under him. This was revoked pending inquiry, following which an EC sub-committee was formed under Appa Rao Podile, an appointee of the BJP Government. It is the final decision of this committee that led to the expulsion of Rohith Vemula and four others from the hostel
As a counter to Ms, Mayawati who asked why there was no Dalit member on the panel to enquire into the expulsion, Ms. Irani said a Dalit member was co-opted
Fact: Prakash Babu was in the panel because he was Dean of student’s welfare and not because he was a Dalit. He quit his administrative responsibility following Rohith’s death and the subsequent press conference held by Ms. Irani.
On Rohith Vemula’s suicide
What Ms. Irani said: According to a report submitted to the Telangana High Court, the police reached Rohith’s hostel at 7:20 p.m. They found the room open and the body was on the table. No one allowed a doctor near this child, to revive this child. Instead, his body was used as a political tool.
Fact: Rohith was examined by a duty doctor of the University’s Health Centre, Dr Rajashree, at 7.20 p.m. and he was declared dead at 7.30 p.m. A requisition for post-mortem from the Gadchipoli police station to Osmania General hospital reiterates this.
Mahishasur celebrations in JNU
Irani brought up references to Mahishasur celebrations at the JNU in the context of documents submitted by the Registrar and how it was resisted by some students belonging to the SC/ST communities who also were beaten up for protesting.
Fact: Durga in some small traditions, notably Santhal tradition, is portrayed as someone who did seduce a local king. There are countless such small traditions that celebrate Mahishasur and Ravan too.
On February 25, when Ms Irani brought this up again, Congress MP Anand Sharma protested and questioned Ms. Irani’s attempts to draw in customs and traditions and Gods into a debate on JNU —leading to an adjournment.
From: The Hindu