JNU dalit scholar’s suicide echoes in Rajya Sabha

RSTV Bureau
A scene in the Rajya Sabha during the winter session, in New Delhi on Wednesday, 07 December, 2016.

File photo of heated debate in Rajya Sabha. Photo – RSTV

The issue of suicide by a Dalit research scholar at JNU echoed in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday with several MPs raising the issue. CPI member and senior parliamentarian D Raja termed it a “serious issue”. 28-year-old Muthu Krishnan, an M Phil student at JNU’s Centre for Historical studies, was found hanging from a ceiling fan at his friend’s residence in South Delhi’s Munirka area, according to police.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Raja said the scholar died in pathetic and mysterious circumstances.

Referring to the suicide of another scholar Rohith Vemula on the Hyderabad University campus earlier last year, the CPI leader said that incident too had led to considerable outrage and alleged discrimination against the students of the weaker sections.

DMK members T Shiva, Kanimozhi, senior Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav, JDU’s Ali Anwar Ansari also raised the issue. Kanimozhi even read his Facebook post while raising the issue.

Responding to the issue, Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government has directed the Delhi Police to urgently file an FIR in the suicide.

She added that the government had suggested to the police to include provisions related to prevention of atrocities against SC, ST students and abetment to suicide as well. The government has recommended to the police that under the amended act, attempt should be made to invoke the provision, Sitharaman added.

Apprising the house of her meeting with the family and friends of the deceased scholar, she said that the government he government was also considering his father’s request for a job to his sisters.

Nirmala-Sitharaman-400x265Mr Krishnan was at the forefront of a students’ movement following Hyderabad Central University (HCU) scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide.

Not ready to accept the police version that he committed suicide, the deceased scholar’s family is demanding a CBI probe into his death. He also demanded registration of an FIR under the SC/ST Act.

“My son cannot commit suicide. He was very strong and confident. We want a CBI probe to be conducted and actual reason behind his death be revealed,” said Jeevanandam, Krishnan’s father.

According to reports, Krishnan had written a post on a social networking site ‘Facebook’ on March 10, severely criticised the JNU’s amended admission policy for PhD and MPhil courses.

“There is no equality in MPhil/PhD admissions, there is no equality in viva-voce, there is only denial of equality, denying Prof Sukhadeo Thorat recommendation, denying students protest places in Ad-block, denying education to the marginals. When Equality is denied everything is denied,” he had written.

Krishnan, who hails from Tamil Nadu’s Salem district, studied at the Hyderabad University, before joining the JNU and was known to a close friend of Rohit Vemula whose suicide in January last year had triggered a nationwide students unrest.

AIIMS, where his post-mortem will be conducted, has constituted a five-member board to conduct the autopsy and issued direction for videography of the procedure.

According to the police, “no suicide has been recovered”. The Police also claimed that Krishnan was not associated with any of the politically active groups in JNU and that there is no prima facie evidence indicating the university administration’s role in the issue.

On the other hand, the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) alleged that Krishnan was “targeted” for his association with the movement seeking justice for Vemula and that depression had made him take the extreme step. It, however, did not clarify who had targeted him.

On Tuesday, leaders from Tamil Nadu expressed concern over the death of a JNU student hailing from the state and sought a probe into the matter.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has also announced a solatium of Rs 3 lakh to Krishnan’s family.