Hyderabad university
Dalit student's suspension in Hyderabad University not related to his caste, says Smriti Irani. Picture: Students stage a demonstration against the suicide of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit research scholar of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) in Hyderabad on 18 January, 2016.IANS

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) had reportedly written four mails to the University of Hyderabad seeking a response to Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya's "VIP" letter complaining about "casteist, extremist and anti-national politics" on the campus. The letter was sent after five Dalit students -- of whom one committed suicide on Sunday -- was accused of attacking an activist of BJP's student wing.

Dattatreya had, on 17 August, 2015, written a letter to Smriti Irani claiming that the university had "become a den of anti-national politics". He cited the Ambedkar Students' Association's (ASA) protest against the hanging of 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon to support his claims, according to an NDTV report.

He said that Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) President Shushil Kumar was "manhandled" when he protested against ASA's demonstration and the university administration acted as "mute spectator".

In response to Dattatreya's letter, Smriti Irani's office sent an email to the university and posted four letters to its address saying "comments/facts had not been received so far" on the labour and employment minister's complaint.

"Comments on VIP reference of Bandaru Dattatreya, MoS for Labour and Employment," NDTV cited an excerpt from the e-mail sent to the university on 3 September. The letters were sent on 24 September, 6 and 20 October, and 19 November last year.

After receiving repeated mails from the education ministry, the university took action against five Dalit students who were allegedly involved in the fight between ASA and ABVP. On 21 December, the university administration barred them from entering the hostel, mess and library, although they were all given clean chit after the initial inquiry.

Ironically, the HRD ministry, which sent five written communication to the university on the complaints of the BJP leader, refused to intervene after Dalit PhD scholar Rohith Vemula hanged himself in a hostel room on Sunday. Vemula was among the five expelled Dalit students.

"I don't want to make any political statement since law and order was a state subject. Government will not intervene," IBN Live quoted Irani as saying on Monday.

University temporarily shut

The Hyderabad University has been temporarily shut down as protests erupted on the campus following Vemula's alleged suicide. Students at the campus have accused Dattatreya and other top university officials for his death, BBC reported.