New Delhi: Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani today made a strong and emotional counter to the charges of the Congress and other opposition parties against her and the ruling government over the suicide of Rohith Vemula and the JNU row, saying opposition parties were playing politics over the death of a student and that such acts would ruin the country.
She was speaking in the Lok Sabha in response to a discussion during the day over the JNU and Rohith Vemula issues. In a strong, but emotionally charged speech made by the HRD minister, she tore into the opposition charges for having turned the suicide of Rohith into a tool for political gains.
Countering charges that actions by the government led Rohith Vemula to suicide, an emotional Irani said, “The politics being played out in the name of Rohith has shaken me completely. I am a mother and someone who gives birth to life is being subjected to such politics over the death of a child.”
Irani further said that the death of Rohith was used as a political tool and that no attempt was made to revive him or take him to a doctor.
Taking on on Rahul Gandhi over his visit to Hyderabad to join protesters at the central university following Rohith's suicide, she said, “Rahul Gandhi went to Hyderabad university only because he saw a political opportunity there. Over 600 students died in the Telangana agitation. Did Rahul visit even once?“
“When I talk about Rohith, I talk about a child and not a Dalit student,” she said, in a reference to charges that the government was harassing Dalit students at central universities. “My name is Smriti Irani and I challenge anyone who can tell my caste,” she added.
The leader, in her speech filled with facts and documentary evidence, went on to inform the house on the JNU issue. Quoting the report of the JNU committee on the event, Irani said that one of the students Umar Khalid, charged with sedition on charges of having organised an event where anti-India slogans were allegedly raised, had misled the university administration.
“Umar Khalid misled JNU administration. He said in an application form that he was organizing a poetry reading,” she said in the lower house, adding that the government had video proof for the JNU incident.
Irani also responded to charges that the HRD ministry was indulging in the saffronisation of education by appointing vice chancellors of their own choice. “There still are many VCs appointed by UPA, I challenge that even if one of them says I do saffronisation, I will leave politics,” said Irani.
Tearing into the opposition for having used such issues for political gains, Irani urged opposition leaders not to use students as political tools. “Children are not vote banks. Don't make education a political battlefield,” Irani said.
“Politics that feeds on the death of a youngster will take this country to ruin,” she added.