NEW DELHI, February 1, 2016
For us, Rohith Vemula was a son of Mother India: BJP.
A day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that Rohith Vemula — the Hyderabad University student who allegedly committed suicide — was “not a Dalit,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain saw the political controversy around his death as a bid “to make a non-Dalit a Dalit.”
“We are not doing any politics on it, but people are showing a non-Dalit as a Dalit. We are just responding to the political propaganda,” Mr. Hussain told The Hindu. “For us, as the Prime Minister said, Rohith Vemula was a son of Mother India.”
Political parties are generally not keen to take a line contrary to the dominant public discourse on an issue seen as related to Dalit sensitivities, and the hardening of the BJP’s line is surprising observers. Some Dalit leaders within the BJP had also been uneasy with the party’s bid to brazen it out after Mr. Vemula’s death.
The party defended Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya’s letter to Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani and the HRD Ministry’s missives to the Hyderabad University as routine official letters on complaints.