NEW DELHI: She didn’t visit the University of Hyderabad after it erupted in protest over Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide, but Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati stole the Congress’ thunder in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, outdoing it in demanding a Dalit member be included in the judicial panel probing Vemula’s death.
She also got Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani all worked up. Irani had to get her say in the Lok Sabha later in the day. But in the Upper House, the first working day of the Budget session went in disruptions, repeated adjournments caused by the Bahujan Samaj Party members’ slogan-shouting for the Dalit student who killed himself allegedly over caste-based discrimination.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s entreaties that the demand would be taken note of when the HRD Minister replies were only to be countered with a demand of an immediate commitment from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was present in Parliament.
Even though the government and the Opposition, including the Congress, agreed to advance the discussion on Vemula’s death suspending Question Hour, Mayawati wanted a response from the government to her demands that Irani and Minister of State for Labour Bandaru Dattatreya resign for allegedly creating a situation that may have led to the suicide, the Vice-Chancellor of the university be sacked and a Dalit member be included in the judicial committee probing the suicide.
When a visibly irritated Irani retorted that it was unfortunate that Mayawati, the first Dalit to have become chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, was “using the death of a young boy for political gains”. Mayawati shot back saying that though the Prime Minister’s niyat saaf hai (intention was honourable) his chele chamunde (his followers) were not allowing him to take right decisions.
Not one to be cowed down, nor lacking dramatics, Irani said, “Mayawatiji, I request, you are a senior member and a woman, you want an answer, I am ready to reply. If you are not satisfied with my answer, I will cut my head and put it in your feet.”
In response, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister stuck to her point and the sparring went on for while.
“A Dalit professor was there whose decision you would not have accepted … I want to say Mayawatiji, a Dalit is a Dalit only if Mayawatiji gives a certificate?” Irani said, causing a huge uproar among the protesting members.
In the heat of the moment, JD(U) MP K C Tyagi referred to Irani by a name which was later expunged and CPM leader Sitaram Yechury joined Mayawati to light into the government’s “inability” to deliver on their demand without clearance from Nagpur, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh headquarters.
The HRD Minister, however, more than made for her inability to speak in the Rajya Sabha with an aggressive reply in the Lok Sabha where she blamed the Congress for “creating an education system which was producing rebels and creating strife on campus”.
Chhattisgarh caste crime up 340%
Chhattisgarh has recorded a 340 per cent increase, highest among States, in atrocities against Dalits in 2013 and 2014, the Rajya Sabha was informed. While 242 such cases were registered in 2013 the number went up to 1,066 in 2014. Haryana recorded a 68.3 per cent increase and Madhya Pradesh a 40.9 per cent rise.
3-hr limit for Local tickets
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4 Held in syria without visas
Four Indians were arrested in Syria recently not because they had gone there to join the IS but for entering the country without valid visas, the government said. Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Walid Al Maoulem had said the four Indians had “crossed over from Jordan to Syria to join the IS” and that they were in custody in Damascus.
Polls for 13 RS Seats
Biennial polls to 13 Rajya Sabha seats will be held on March 21. While the notification for the polls would be issued on March 4, the last date of submitting nominations will be March 14 and the process of elections will be complete by March 23. The elections are being held as the terms of the 13 members are ending in April 2016.