After keeping a low profile for the last two days, Irani addressed a press conference flanked by three ministers where she took on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi saying the party wants to "shoot" on the issue which is "expected but unfortunate".

The minister was at pains to project that the ABVP student,  who was attacked in a student rivalry, belonged to the OBC community as was Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, who had written a letter to her about the attack.

Claiming that a "malicious attempt" was being made to project the suicide as a dalit versus non-dalit caste battle over which "passions" are being ignited, the minister rejected allegations that her ministry's intervention through letters had led to the suicide of the student Rohith Vemula.

Facing a number of questions, Irani said she did not want to get into political mudslinging or a blame game and was only bringing certain facts to set the record straight in the face of attempts to create caste divisions in the society.

"An effort is on to instigate students all over the ountry.  My appeal is, please do not instigate students and communities deliberately.

"There has been a malicious attempt to ignite passions and present this as a caste battle which it is not.  It is not a Dalit versus non-Dalit confrontation as has been the efforts of some to project it that way," she said repeatedly.

Asked about the resignation demand made by Gandhi during his visit to the University yesterday,  "They need to look at all these facts.  Today I want to answer (to his statements) only through these two reports," she said referring to the standard protcol followed in government from the UPA time.

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