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'My letter has nothing to do with Dalit scholar's suicide' - Bandaru Dattatreya


Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya on Monday distanced himself from the suicide case of Dalit PhD scholar Vemula Rohith and said his letter has nothing to do with it. A case has been registered against Dattatreya and vice chancellor of the Hyderabad Central University in connection with the suicide case of PhD scholar Rohith.

"My letter has no connection with the suicide case of the Dalit student. I have written letter because some anti-social elements who were attacking Akhil Bharatiya Vishwa Parishad members. I would not like to comment on the case against me." The HRD Ministry will send a team to Hyderabad which will be headed by three officers. HRD source said that student was not expelled from university. He was barred from using only hostel facility.

The case has been registered under the SC/ST Act. Students protesting after the death of Rohith had earlier demanded filing of the case, alleging that Dattatreya had written to the Union HRD Ministry seeking action against Rohith and other scholars. Rohith, was one of the five Dalit scholars, who was expelled by the university in 2015 for allegedly attacking a student activist belonging to ABVP in August 2015. Sources said, he was doing his PhD in science technology and society studies for the past two years.

Then the university ordered a probe and the final decision by the proctorial board (disciplinary authority of the Institute) led to the expulsion of Rohith along with four others. Since then they were barred from entering the administrative building, hostels, libraries, mess and other common areas, leading to massive protests by students. They later formed a Joint Action Committee for Social Justice (JAC) to fight back against the university's decision.

The action against the students came reportedly after Dattatreya wrote to HRD Minister Smriti Irani after an ABVP activist was manhandled. ABVP had reacted sharply after some students unions protested death sentence given to 1993 blast accused Yakub Memon. It was in the wake of this incident that Dattatreya reportedly took up the matter with the HRD Ministry. Rohith and other students were protesting on Sunday evening when he managed to enter the NRS hostel, locked himself and took the extreme step.

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