Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday accused the Congress of engaging in "tamasha politics" regarding the suicide of Hyderabad University PhD scholar Rohith Vemula. Naidu said that the Congress never bothered about Dalits during its own rule at the Centre. He added that 10 such student suicides took place during the Congress regime, and asked why none of its leaders condoled the incidents back then.

Naidu's comments came a day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Saturday that Vemula was not a Dalit. She said the allegations made so far were all baseless and that some people had turned the case into a communal incident by calling him a Dalit student. Swaraj's allegation followed Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s participation in a candlelight vigil, which was organised by students for Vemula’s death, at the university campus late Friday night.

In addition, in a secret intelligence report forwarded to National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, agencies earlier on Thursday cited the statement of Vemula’s grandmother Raghavamma claiming that her son, Vemula’s father V Mani Kumar, and daughter-in-law, his mother V Radhika, belong to the Vaddera community, which is a backward caste and not Dalit, The Times of India reported.