Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal lashed out at the Narendra Modi government on Thursday as he visited the University of Hyderabad in the wake of the alleged suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula.
"The entire case is crystal clear. Rohith and his friends started a discussion on capital punishment which ABVP leaders didn't like," Kejriwal said as he addressed the students at the campus.
He also criticised Union HRD minister Smriti Irani and Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya over the suicide. "In his letter to Smriti Irani, Bandaru Dattatreya used the words 'casteist', 'extremist' and 'anti-national'... There can be nothing more unfortunate than a Union minister calling someone's views against capital punishment 'anti-national'," the Delhi chief minister said.
"Without conducting any probe into the matter, action was taken against the Dalit students," Kejriwal further said. He also said that Irani's clarification on the issue on Wednesday was "shameful" and "full of lies", adding that Irani and Dattatreya should be sacked.
Kejriwal also said that it was a matter of shame that a bright student like Rohith was forced to commit suicide. "It's a matter of shame that a bright student like Rohith committed suicide... Rohith was a Dalit but was admitted to the university through merit, not on the basis of reservation."
The Delhi CM then said that the Centre wanted to tell the people of India that if their orders and ideologies are not followed, the people will be crushed. "The Centre is with no one. They are only after satta (power)," he said.
Kejriwal also alleged that the allegation of violence by Dalit students made by ABVP leader Nandanam Susheel Kumar was completely false as he had lied about being assaulted by the students. "The hospital report says the appendix operation of the ABVP member has nothing to do with violence against him," Kejriwal said, alleging that Kumar had actually used the operation to create the impression that he had been assaulted.
"Even the registrar of the Hyderabad University said that there was no violence against the ABVP member," he said.
On the other hand, Nandanam Susheel Kumar on Thursday demanded a "fair" inquiry and rejected claims that he had lied about being assaulted by Rohith and other members of the Ambedkar Students' Association (ASA) at Hyderabad University.
"Reasons for Rohith's suicide should be thoroughly examined. When a person like Rohith could confront so many people like us (and) also there was hearing by the High Court in two days, what made him go into depression?" Kumar said.
"What were the faculty or the students around him doing? When a student went into depression, these people could not identify that? They give us lectures on how to identify a person when he is in depression," he told reporters in Hyderabad.
"Why did these people send Rohith to some other person's room without sending someone along with him? There are many issues in this. There should be a fair inquiry. And whoever is the culprit, let it be me or let it be anyone else, the culprit should be punished," he said.
On his claims that he was manhandled, the ABVP leader said he can produce records that he was admitted to hospital and underwent an operation.
"I don't know what Hyderabad police said. But I was admitted to hospital and you can see the injuries on my body, you can still see the operation marks on me. There may not be any external injuries, but there are enough certificates that say that I had to go for an operation," he said.
The university had in a statement in August said there was a fight involving students of the ASA and Susheel Kumar of ABVP which eventually reached the court.
Rohith, whose body was found hanging in a hostel room on Sunday, was among the five research scholars who were suspended by the university in August 2015 and also one of the accused in the case of alleged assault on the ABVP leader.
Replying to query, Kumar said political parties "coming on the university campus is common and not limited to BJP only.
"First thing (after) Rohith's death... when he committed suicide, even I felt depressed. I could not come out of my room for three days. I read that suicide note for 100 to 200 hundred times in which he did not mention anyone's name... that so and so person is responsible," he said.
"(Union minister) Bandaru Dattatreya might have written a letter. AIMIM leaders also came on the campus. Every politician is involved in campus politics," Kumar said.
Replying to another query, Kumar said he did not have any personal issues with Rohith, but it was only an ideological difference.
With inputs from PTI