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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

HRD names ex-HC judge for Rohith death probe - Asian Age

A student shouts slogans demanding resignation of Smriti Irani during a protest. (Photo: PTI)

The HRD ministry Thursday named former Allahabad high court judge Ashok Kumar Roopanwal to probe the circumstances that led to dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide in Hyderabad recently. HRD ministry sources said Justice Roopanwal will review the entire sequence of events and its circumstances and establish facts and correctives. The one-man judicial commission has been asked to submit its report within three months, it is learnt.

Earlier, a fact-finding committee set up by the ministry gave its report on developments at the university, after which it was decided a judicial commission would be set up. The scholar’s death led to protests by students in several parts of the country.
The joint parliamentary committee on SC/ST welfare, chaired by BJP MP Faggan Singh, has voiced concern over Vemula’s suicide and has proposed sending a delegation to the University of Hyderabad, and also to IIT Madras to examine complaints of injustice/discrimination against dalit students.

Vemula’s suicide sparked a political row across India as a written complaint by Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya against the alleged attack on an ABVP activist in August, where he called the university a “den of casteist, extremist and anti-national politics”, led to five letters from the HRD ministry.
Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya, in his letter to the HRD ministry, called the University of Hyderabad a “den of casteist, extremist and anti-national politics” and complained that the ministry had been a “mute spectator” to the attack on the ABVP activist. Both HRD minister Smriti Irani and Mr Dattatreya have been under attack by the Opposition, which has also demanded that both resign.

At the joint parliamentary committee meeting, members also raised strong objections over the absence of the secretaries of the petroleum and telecom departments, and decided to approach Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to complain about the secretaries allegedly “undermining” parliamentary panels. They also sought her approval for a tour to the University of Hyderabad and IIT Madras, that have been in the news lately over alleged atrocities against dalits.

The agenda of the meeting was to discuss issues related to the implementation of reservations in Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and bodies under the petroleum ministry. But since the secretaries were not available, the panel could not take up the listed agenda.