Student protests are on outside the home of Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya, who has been accused aiding the death of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit PhD student at the University of Hyderabad who committed suicide on Sunday. The university’s vice-chancellor, Appa Rao, was also named as an accused in the case. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Congress leader Digvijay Singh will meet Vemula’s mother and visit the university, in Hyderabad later on Tuesday. Trinamool Congress leaders Derek O' Brien and Pratima Mandal will also go to the university later in the day.
The suicide has sparked anger, with students saying that Vemula was treated with discrimination, after he and four other students were accused of attacking an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad member in Hyderabad. Students have alleged that a letter from Dattatreya led to discriminatory action against Vemula and the other four students. The university had initially cleared all five students in an inquiry but reversed their decision in December. Around 70 students were detained during protests on Monday.
Education minister Smriti Irani has sent a two-member team to investigate the incident, and Social Justice Minister TC Gehlot has also appointed department Secretary Anita Agnihotri to conduct an inquiry. The Bharatiya Janata Party government has been criticised for the incident, with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal terming it murder, and asking for an apology from Narendra Modi as well as the sacking of ministers involved in the incident. Congress leader Kumari Selja has also said action should be taken against Smriti Irani, and called for Dattatreya's resignation.
Meanwhile, protests by students continue at a few campuses across the country, including outside the University of Mumbai.