This Article is From Jan 20, 2016

Student Protests Build, Politicians Refuse To Stay Away: 10 Developments

Students have blamed Rohith Vemula's suicide on union minister Bandaru Dattatreya's letter in August to Education Minister Smriti Irani

Hyderabad: As student protests over 26-year-old research scholar Rohith Vemula's death spread across the country and politicians made a beeline for Hyderabad university, vice chancellor Appa Rao Podile said Union minister Smriti Irani or Bandaru Dattartreya did not pressurise him in any way to take action against Vemula.

Here are the 10 latest developments in this story:

  1. "The letters from the Human Resources Development ministry were not attended to as VIP request. There was no pressure from ministry or Delhi,' Vice Chancellor Appa Rao Podile told NDTV. "We were forced to take decision as the court was asking for response."

  2. Rohith Vemula committed suicide on Sunday following the university's action against him, which protesters say was spurred by Central minister Bandaru Dattartreya's letter to Education Minister Smriti Irani.

  3. In the letter, Dr Dattatreya alleged that the university had become a "den of casteist, extremist and anti-national politics". After his letter, four letters went to the university from the Human Resource Development ministry, asking what action has been taken.

  4. Opposition parties have attacked the ruling BJP, demanding action and answers. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who met Rohith's mother, said "the Vice Chancellor, the minister in Delhi and the institution" had "created conditions" for Rohith's suicide.

  5. In Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party protested at Jantar Mantar and its leader Ashutosh said, "The PM continues to shield ministers who ostracize Dalits. The PM should sack Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani's role should be probed."

  6. BJP ally and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan has demanded a CBI inquiry. He said he will meet the Prime Minister after a team of leaders from his Lok Janshakti Party return from Hyderabad. A delegation from Trinamool Congress is currently visiting the university.

  7. Rohith Vemula was found hanging in the university hostel on Sunday, days after the university suspended him and four other Dalit students allegedly for beating an activist of the BJP student wing Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad.

  8. Four months after clearing them of the charge, the university had reversed its decision in December. Mr Dattatreya, the BJP parliamentarian from Secunderabad, has been named in a police complaint.

  9. On Tuesday, there were massive student protests in cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Pune and Delhi. In Hyderabad, student protesters have demanded that the suspension be cancelled. They have also requested parties not to politicise Rohith's death.

  10. In the evening, angry students chanted "go back" to the two officers of the human resources development ministry who had come to investigate Rohith's death. They also forced BJP spokesperson Prakash Reddy to leave the campus.

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