JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar who has been severely critical of Union Minister Smriti Irani ever since the sedition row broke out today alleged that she has been shunted out of HRD to divert public attention from Rohith Vemula issue.
Kanhaiya, who is out on bail in a sedition case, has been leading a movement demanding justice for Rohith Vemula, a Hyderabad university scholar who was found hanging in his room earlier this year after he along with five others were suspended.
"There has been an outrage in the dalit community and among students against Irani after Rohith Vemula was forced to commit suicide. The move to send her to Textile ministry from HRD has been made only to divert public attention from Vemula issue," he said.
"If you remove a minister from one ministry and send her to another one, it is not a punishment..It is just an arrangement which has been made keeping in view the upcoming elections," he added.
Smriti Irani was yesterday shifted from the key HRD ministry to less significant Textiles portfolio and replaced by the newly elevated Cabinet minister Prakash Javadekar after an expansion of the Union Council of Ministers and reshuffle.
The shifting of Irani, whose two-year tenure in the Human Resources Development Ministry was marked by controversies over dalit scholar Vemula's suicide and the JNU row, triggered speculation whether it was a tactical move to give a less important portfolio or to be left free to be the face of BJP campaign in UP Assembly polls due in 2017.