Nothing to do with Dalit students’ suspension: Dattatreya

Hyderabad: Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya on Monday said neither he nor the BJP had anything to do with the suspension of five Dalit research scholars of the University of Hyderabad, one of whom committed suicide.

The minister of state for labour, however, defended his action in writing a letter to the Human Resource Development Ministry about the activities of ‘anti-national’ and ‘anti-social’ elements on the campus.

Dattatreya and university vice chancellor Appa Rao Podile were booked on the charge of abetment to suicide after a Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula hanged himself in a hostel on the varsity campus on Sunday.

“I had received a representation from Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad leaders that they were beaten up by anti-national and anti-social elements. I forwarded the same to the ministry. I don’t know what action was taken on this,” Dattatreya told reporters here.

The ABVP is the student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The minister refused to comment on the case registered against him and three others on abetment to suicide charge and under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Rohith Vemula and four other students were protesting for the last 15 days over their suspension and expulsion from the hostel.

The Ambedkar Students Union (ASU), to which the five students belonged, blamed Dattetreya, Appa Rao and ABVP leaders Sushil Kumar and Vishnu in the case, following which they were booked on a complaint by a student.

The ASU alleged that the university had been turned into a hub of right wing groups since the BJP came to power at the Centre.

The row between the students groups broke out in August last year when ASU took out a rally to condemn the ABVP’s attack on the screening of a documentary on the Muzaffarnagar riots at Delhi University.

ABVP leaders took objection to the protest. Later, Sushil Kumar lodged a complaint that ASU activists assaulted him. The accused students however denied the allegation.