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The government has directed the Delhi Police to urgently file an FIR in the suicide of JNU scholar Muthu Krishnan, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Rajya Sabha today after several opposition members raised the issue of discrimination on campuses.
During the Zero Hour, CPI leader D Raja raised the matter saying a Dalit student from Tamil Nadu had died in pathetic and "mysterious" circumstances and asked what was happening in the central universities of the country, he said.
Referring to the suicide of another scholar Rohith Vemula on the Hyderabad University campus earlier, Raja said that incident too had led to considerable outrage and alleged discrimination against the students of the weaker sections.
Several other members including DMK leaders Tiruchi Siva, Kanimozhi, SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav, JD(U)'s Ali Anwar Ansari expressed their anguish over the incident.
After many opposition members raised questions, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she had gone to the mortuary and met the father of the deceased student as well as his close friends, following which she met Home Minister Rajnath Singh to apprise him of the situation.
Admitting that an FIR had not been filed in the matter, Sitharaman said the government had directed the police to register a case by noon and provide a copy to the family members.
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 students had asked why the provisions relating to prevention of atrocities against SCs and STs were not being invoked but the police was insisting that there was no specific complaint against someone who had committed such an offence, the minister told the House.
The government has recommended to the police that under the amended act, attempt should be made to invoke the provision, Sitharaman added.
Police officials had also mentioned about difficulty in
invoking the abetment to suicide clause, but as only an enquiry would establish the facts, it has been suggested that these clauses too should be included, Sitharaman said.
She assured the members that government would ensure justice in the matter.
The minister said that father of Krishnan, who was an only son, had expressed a wish regarding jobs for his sisters.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh has assured that the father's demand would considered, Sitharaman told Rajya Sabha members.
Earlier, members of various parties had raised the matter of the JNU student's suicide while also referring to the incident related to Vemula's death last year.
Deputy Speaker P J Kurien also told the minister that the members' statements seemed to suggest that there was a feeling of discrimination and insecurity among the Dalit students and the government should look at these aspects.
Earlier, after CPI's Raja had raised the matter related to the situation facing "Dalit, Tribal, Minority and OBC" students, Siva (DMK) had said while students of weaker sections got into the institutions through the reservation system, they faced problems like economic deprivation and societal attitude.
Ram Gopal Yadav of SP demanded the presence of HRD minister Prakash Javadekar to answer the questions, while Ali Anwar Ansari of JD(U) said this was not the first such instance as there have been cases of disrimination in JNU, BHU, DU and other central varsities too. Attempt was being made to suppress the matter, he alleged.
Before Raja raised the issue, Congress members were in the Well of the House, protesting what they claimed was "murder of democracy" in Manipur and Goa. However, they too suspended their protest in some time with Raja raised the issue.
During the Zero Hour, P L Punia (Cong) raised the issue of government doing away with SC and Tribal sub-plans in the Budget for 2017-18.
He said the sub-plans were introduced by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1980 to make budgetary allocation in proportion of the SC/ST/tribal population.
But in the 2017-18, the concept of sub-plans has been done away with, he said, adding that budgetary allocation should be 16.6 per cent for SC and 8.6 per cent for ST.
Stating that the sub-plan allocations were non-lapsable and could not be diverted to other schemes, he asked the government when the allocations will be restored.
He also stated that the allocations to centrally sponsored schemes and central sector schemes have been cut in the Budget.