Irani again defends JNU action but in milder tone
For the second straight day, HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Thursday made a strong defence of the government’s actions with regard to JNU issue and suicide of Dalit student in Hyderabad University in the face of intense attack by the opposition which alleged that attempts were being made to suppress dissent.
Irani, who was ballistic in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, was comparatively mellowed down in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday as she replied to questions raised on her performance as also that of the HRD ministry under her. She said she had been “rightly” advised by someone to be calm.
Her reply to a short duration discussion, however, was cut short as the House was abruptly adjourned after uproar over her certain comments which she made while alleging that some elements in JNU had published derogatory pamphlets about Goddess Durga. As she narrated the descriptive details of the pamphlets, Anand Sharma of Congress took objection, saying it could set a precedent and in future somebody else could repeat it with regard to Gods of other religions.
“What is happening here? This is too much. It’s a dangerous precedent. Every religious leader and deity has been derogatorily referred by some persons. Will all this be discussed here? Can we allow it here. Then there will be a war in the House,” Sharma said.
Irani insisted with her reference, saying it was imperative to counter the charge levelled against her.
Responding to objections, Deputy Chairman PK Kurian said she has authenticated what she had said. “What can I do?” he said.
With the opposition remaining unrelenting, he adjourned the House till Friday.
Earlier, Irani contended that JNU row as well Vemula’s suicide were being projected wrongly to target her, and quoted Macbeth, saying “fair is foul, foul is fair”.
She also rejected the charge of saffronisation of education and to buttress her point, she cited the case of wife of a Left MP appointed by the NDA government as an ICHR member.
She also hit back at Congress, saying its government had appointed a former NSUI president as Haryana Central Univeristy Vice-Chancellor.
Meanwhile, the duty doctor at the University of Hyderabad health centre on Thursday appeared to contradict the claim of HRD Minister Smriti Irani that no doctor was allowed near the body of research scholar Rohith Vemula on the day he had died either to revive him or remove him to hospital.
Dr M Rajshree, the doctor on duty that fateful day when Rohith had allegedly committed suicide on Jan 17, said on Thursday she was the one who examined the body and had declared him dead.