Hyderabad, Targetting central minister Smriti Irani over suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula, the SC/ST Teachers Forum and Concerned Faculty of University of Hyderabad alleged that she is insensitive to grieving family and friends.
It also remarked that truth and justice and not melodrama is expected from a minister.
“As teachers, as ministers we have much more to offer – truth, equality, justice, hope, and inspiration. Not melodrama,” the forum said in an open letter to Irani, the union human resource development minister.
The teachers’ body not only stated that she is culpable in Vemula’s death but also came down heavily on her for “factually incorrect claims” made during her speech in parliament.
“Not only are your claims factually incorrect but they point to an utter lack of respect and sensitivity for the grieving family, friends, and students. You are clearly disconnected from the heart-breaking grief of his friends palpable to anyone present that night or the accompanying anger knowing the injustice that led to this tragedy,” it said.
“Does it befit our honourable minister to implicate these very grieving people in the death of their beloved friend,” the forum asked.
It also wanted to know from the minister as to when “this sinister, anti-national, casteist, Dalit student of the University of Hyderabad transformed into a child” for her.
On Irani’s claim that Vemula could could possible have been revived but no doctor was allowed near him on the night of January 17, the faculty said incontrovertible facts have emerged that belie this.
“You were not there that night, respected minister. You did not see the grief or the shock, nor were you there to feel the despair. How could you even begin to fathom how desperate students were when they called faculty members and medical doctor of the University’s Health Centre as soon as Rohith’s body was found hanging by students and security officials,” it said.
Giving a detailed account of the events that led to suspension of five Dalit students and to the suicide of Vemula, the forum rebutted various claims made by the minister.
It urged her not turn this into a fight against students “who have nothing to rely upon, no power – political or social, no connections, no money, not even a home”.