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Dalit student’s suicide: Cornered, Dattatreya plots next move

DalitStudentSuicide Updated: Jan 20, 2016 14:56 IST
Brajesh Kumar
Brajesh Kumar
Hindustan Times
Hyderabad Dalit student's suicide

Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya(Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)

Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya, in the eye of a storm over the suicide of a Dalit student, remains cooped up at home in Hyderabad, awaiting the report of a government fact-finding team, sources close to him said on Wednesday.

Dattatreya was busy strategising for the Hyderabad civic elections when Rohith Vemula, a Phd student at the city’s Central University, hanged himself to death, triggering a political controversy that has embarrassed the Narendra Modi-led government. Dattatreya is accused of driving Vemula, a Dalit student activist, to suicide by pushing for his suspension from the university.

Sources close to the beleaguered central labour minister said he was in touch with legal luminaries and also senior BJP leadership in the New Delhi to devise a way out of the crisis.

Read: Dalit student’s suicide: Is Modi losing touch with the youth?

He is expected to travel to New Delhi on Thursday.

For now, all preparations for the municipal elections have come to halt and the focus is on the crisis at hand, the minister’s aide said.

“We are awaiting the report of the HRD ministry’s two-member fact finding team and thereafter will decide how the minister should respond,” an aide of the minister told HT over phone from Hyderabad. The report is expected today.

Read: ‘India’s on fire’: Letter to Rohith Vemula from his transgender friend

An MP from Secunderabad Lok Sabha constituency, Dattatreya is the sole BJP MP from Telengana and only representative in the Union council of ministers from the state who was spearheading BJP’s campaign for Hyderabad civic polls.

The registration of a case under the newly amended SC, ST act against the minister has landed him in the biggest crisis of his political career.