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Rohith Vemula suicide: An ugly show of power-political nexus in India

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By Arnab Mitra

New Delhi: A student committed suicide in the wee hours of January 17 sparking a nationwide protest against political interference in the educational institutions. Rohith was a PhD student at the University of Hyderabad and he was expelled on the charges of assaulting an ABVP student in the University Campus.

This incident has its roots to a chain of events that spurted in August last year. Ambedkar Students Association (ASA), along with Ambedkar Reading Group, University of Delhi, Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, IIT Madras, ASA (TISS) in Mumbai and some concerned students from IIT Bombay had issued a joint statement condemning an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) attack on screening of ‘Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hain’ and death sentence awarded to Yakub Menon. Later, ASA’s University of Hyderabad chapter organised a protest demonstration and according to a report they had assaulted ABVP leader Susheel Kumar.

But the University authorities became pro-active only after the involvement of Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and HRD minister Smriti Irani in this case and which led to a decision against five Dalit students including Rohith Vemula. The authorities asked the students to vacate their accommodation and their living spaces were also blocked.

As the incidence has flared up, questions have been raised regarding the involvement of Union ministers in the internal matter of the University. And it was quite shameful when the BJP spokesperson in a leading TV show said, “As Bandaru Dattatreya is the MP from Hyderabad, so he has every right to interfere in the University matter”. Supporting the statement a RSS leader said, “These students are anti-national and for that reason they were against the death sentence of Yakub Menon”.

Almost all the political parties tried to capitalize on Rohith Vemula’s suicide, including remote regional parties like AAP who have no presence in Hyderabad. They played politics on a young death, making it a Dalit issue. Unfortunately, politics will continue over Vemula and more so in the states like West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh since assembly elections are due.

Two issue emerge here: One, political interference in campus life. Second, as the  experience from the past tells, incidents of campus violence often become political in nature. “But do we need political interference in the educational institution, and are educational institutions for study or for doing politics?”, asks Dr. Santwam Sarkar, professor of International Relation, Jadavpur University.

Dr. Akansha Ganguly, a columnist of a reputed English daily says, “It is too shameful to understand that a student committed suicide on the force of a democratic union and its ministers and now everyone is doing politics on ‘Vemula’ and it will be a good object for some political parties to win the upcoming assembly election in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh”.

 

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Union Minister Smriti Irani Gives Shout-Out To Upcoming Film “Thappad”, Says “Its Not Ok To Hit Women”

The film also features Pavail Gulati, Dia Mirza, Ratna Pathak Shah, Tanvi Azmi, Kumud Mishra and Manav Kaul. It is slated to release on February 28

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Smriti Irani
Smriti Irani on Sunday took to Instagram, where she shared the trailer of the film, directed by Anubhav Sinha. IANS

Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani has given a shout-out to Bollywood actress Taapsee Pannu’s upcoming film “Thappad” and said that it is not ok to hit a woman not even one slap.

Irani on Sunday took to Instagram, where she shared the trailer of the film, directed by Anubhav Sinha.

The politician wrote alongside the video: “How many have heard “aurat ko hi adjust karna padta hai…” How many think “ki maar pitai sirf gareeb auraton ke hi pati karte hai…” How many believe “ki educated aadmi kabhi haath nahi uthata…” How many tell their girls their daughter in laws “koi baat nahi beta aisa to humare saath bhi hua lekin dekho aaj kitne khush hai…”

“I might not support the political ideology of the director or may disagree with some actors on some issues but this is a story that I will definitely watch and hope people watch it with their families. It’s not ok to hit a woman… not even a slap… not even JUST one slap.”

Smriti
Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani has given a shout-out to Bollywood actress Taapsee Pannu’s upcoming film “Thappad” and said that it is not ok to hit a woman not even one slap. IANS

“Thappad” takes a serious look at the issue of domestic violence, with particular focus on how violent behaviour is ground for divorce, irrespective of the number of times it happens. Simply put, even if it is just one slap, it counts as domestic violence.

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The film also features Pavail Gulati, Dia Mirza, Ratna Pathak Shah, Tanvi Azmi, Kumud Mishra and Manav Kaul. It is slated to release on February 28. (Bollywood Country)