Budget session begins, PM Modi hopeful of a fruitful session

The Budget session of the Parliament began on Tuesday and is all set for a stormy start as discussions on the JNU case and suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula has been scheduled on 24th, which is the first working day of the Parliament.

President Pranab Mukherjee, while addressing both the houses ahead of the budget session, listed out various achievements of the BJP government and said that the Parliament reflects the supreme will of people and democratic temper calls for debate & discussion and not disruption or obstruction.

Post the two all-party meetings held by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Venkaiah Naidu on Monday, the Opposition accused the government for “setting the agenda for disruption” even before the session began.

PM Modi, while addressing the media in a customary practice ahead of the Parliament session, said that he was hopeful of a ‘fruitful session’ and ‘constructive debates’. Describing the Opposition parties as “friends”, he said that they have been showing positive attitude and the whole country and the world is paying attention to the budget session.

Further, Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha said that no contentious bills should be brought to the table and only bills on which there is a general agreement should be allowed. He also stated that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill would not come in the first half of the session and that a view could be taken on the fate of the bill by the second half.

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu, however, said that the meetings with the Opposition were very positive and that they were in favour of smooth functioning of the Parliament. He also reiterated that the government was open to discussion on any issue, whether it is JNU, Pathankot terror attack, Hyderabad Central University issue or even the Jat reservation stir.

The government has a legislative agenda of 32 items for the session, out of which 11 bills are pending in the upper house and one in Lok Sabha.

Sources: The Hindu, Indianexpress

Shiv Sena fears Budget Session washout

The Shiv Sena expressed its fear of a complete washout of the upcoming Budget Session due to the rising political heat over Rohith Vemula’s suicide. The controversy, the party fears, will not die down and gather further political attention, proving to be an obstacle for the smooth functioning of the Budget Session.

An editorial Sena mouthpiece, ‘Samaana’ said, “The Budget session (of Parliament) is merely 15 days away and it seems that the whole session will be wiped out over Rohith Vemula’s death. There will soon be Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and thus the suicide matter will be heated up for political gains”.

In the editorial, the Sena questioned the process in which Vemula’s case was handled. The University expelled the student on disciplinary grounds after a Union Minister, Bandaru Dattatreya, allegedly intervened. However, the editorial demands to know as to why the student’s views were not allowed to be voiced. In addition, the editorial points out that in our country extensive talk are held over Assam’s ULFA and agreements are made with Maoist, Naxalites, and other terror outfits. The Sena questions, “In spite of all this, why was Rohith Vemula not given a chance to put forth his views despite his numerous pleadings”.

Source: NDTV

Image Source: oneindia

Rohith Vemula’s suicide: Rahul Gandhi ends hunger strike

Rahul Gandhi on Saturday sat on hunger strike alongside agitating students from Hyderabad Central University. On January 18, he had made his first visit to the university, a day after Rohith committed suicide.  On January 19, he had met agitating students and Rohith’s family members. The students have been agitating over the suicide of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit scholar at the university. Rohith and five other students were asked to leave the university in connection with an alleged attack on an ABVP leader.

During the hunger strike, Rahul Gandhi also stated that Narendra Modi and RSS are trying to crush the spirit of students and youths by commanding ‘one idea from top’. He asked students to put their ideas in the market place of ideas, and then if students accept that idea, he said he would be fine with it.

Claiming his main opposition to be Mr. Modi & RSS, he said to the students, “You will one day find that the very same people who crushed Rohith will be blocking your path to freedom, to progress.”

Rahul Gandhi and Rohith Vemula’s mother concluded their hunger strike at University of Hyderabad around 5.40 PM.

The congress Vice President also said that massive discrimination is prevailing in educational institutions. “Every single student must realise that most powerful thing they have is not what some powerful people tell you but what you believe in,” he added.

Drawing a line with Gandhi’s assassination, Rahul said that it is a very interesting day as it is not just Rohith’s birth anniversary, but also Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary. He thanked Rohith’s family and students of the University for inviting him for the event. Students from Jawaharlal Nehru University and Film and Television Institute of India have reportedly joined the hunger strike.

Source: Indian Express, Times of India



Vemula suicide: 60 protestors detained in Chennai

Around 60 protesters, who staged protests demanding the resignation of Union Human Resources Minister Smriti Irani and Minister of Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya over the suicide of Hyderabad dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula,  and three medical students in Tamil Nadu, were detained in Chennai by the Police today.

“The continuing and growing incidence of tragic suicides of students belonging to marginalised sections of society makes it imperative that a ‘Rohith Law’ be enacted… This should ensure punitive action against university administrations guilty of encouragement”, read out the official statement of the protestors, as quoted by NDTV.

According to a report by ANI, Hyderabad Osmania University’s Joint Action Committee , in a statement announced that it will hold a “Chalo CM Camp office” protest on 29 January to condemn the alleged reasons leading to Vemula’s death.


Sources: India Today: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/60-students-detained-in-chennai-for-demanding-smriti-iranis-resignation/1/580660.html

Dalit suicide: Arvind Kejriwal to visit the University of Hyderabad

Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi is scheduled to visit the University of Hyderabad on Thursday. Officials told IANS that Kejriwal will meet the family of the Dalit research scholar who committed suicide at the University of Hyderabad last Sunday.

Rohit Vemula ended his life after being expelled from the university following a tiff with members of the student wing of the BJP, Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

Kejriwal’s visit follows Congress leader,Rahul Gandhi’s visit yesterday.

Rohit was a second-year research scholar student specialized in Science, Technology and Society Studies.

He along with some other students were suspended from the hostel last year on account of an alleged clash with a leader of the ABVP, which is affiliated to the RSS.

News source:  Hindustan Times , NDTV 

Rohith Vemula suicide: It is not a dalit versus anti-dalit issue, says Smriti Irani

In the wake of the recent suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, the Union HRD minister Smriti Irani, on Thursday,  held a press conference in the National Capital. The press meet comes soon after many political names came to light in relation to the case.

The Union Minister told media that this is not an issue of the backward caste as portrayed by some, but largely used tactic to fuel contention among masses.

Ms Irani mentioned that there were many facts which were ‘misrepresented’ and it was necessary to clear those. She also stressed on the fact that there was clearly no mention of any of the MPs or political parties in the suicide letter left by Rohith Vemula. She then criticized the attempts to politicize the whole issue and said,” let us take the onus, as it is easy to ignite passion.”

Pointing at the opposition, she stated that, Congress was taking undue advantage and trying to use the whole incident for political benefits. Speaking to TOI,  she said “ They want to focus on the issue which is quite expected and regrettable at the same time”. Accusing the Congress, she said that if they had sought solutions four years ago, the young student’s life could have been saved.

Later , the Union Minister also referred to the presence of number of Dalit officials to counter the charges of any anti-Dalit bias in the probe and assured that there would be a fair probe in the case.