Brand-new DELHI: The HRD ministry on Tuesday rejected allegations that it had put any tension on the University of Hyderabad in the matter relating to the suspension of a dalit student who committed suicide on Sunday.
The rejection came after it emerged that the ministry had sent five letters including four reminders to the University regarding the August 17, 2015 letter written by Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya.
“It would certainly be wrong to say that the ministry has actually put any tension on the Hyderabad University. The ministry had only followed the procedure as per the Central Secretariat Manual of Office Procedure,” HRD ministry spokesperson Ghanshyam Goel said.
“According to the procedure, if there is a VIP reference, it has actually to be acknowledged in 15 days and another 15 days might be taken to reply to it. Since no response was coming from the university, the ministry had to send reminders,” he said.
Seeking to justify the ministry’s action, officials said that even in Cabinet meetings the ministry is supposed to provide all details about pending assurances, VIP references, grievances etc.
According to sources, the ministry had sent its first letter on September 3, 2015 to the University, and reminders were later sent on September 24, October 6, October 20 and November 19.
Officials said that the university finally replied on the matter on January 7.
Dattatreya had written a letter to HRD minister Smriti Irani after a clash between two student groups in the campus in which an ABVP leader Susheel Kumar was attacked.
Rohith Vemula, a Dalit PhD scholar, who committed suicide on Sunday night, was among the five research scholars who were suspended by the university in August last year over the alleged assault case. They were also kept out of the hostel.
Full text: Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide note
The issue took a political turn with allegations that the extreme step taken by Rohith was a result of discrimination versus dalit students at the behest of Dattatreya, following his letter to Irani, seeking action versus their “anti-national acts”.
Rohith was found hanging at the Central University’s hostel room in the campus on Sunday, triggering protests from fellow students.