Friends of Rohith Vemula on Monday released a video purportedly showing the PhD scholar speaking about himself days before he committed suicide in a room at the University of Hyderabad on January 17.
The video, reportedly shot for a Facebook campaign regarding the expulsion of five Dalit PhD scholars including Vemula, was found in the laptop of one of his friends.
“The video was forgotten as the idea to campaign against the UoH administration and VC P Appa Rao was dropped. We found the video last week and decided to release it as many questions are being raised about Rohith’s caste, with the Roopanwal Committee saying he was not a Dalit,’’ said Munna Sannaki, a friend of Vemula and member of the Ambedkar Students’ Association.
In the video, Vemula says: “My name is Rohith Vemula. I am a Dalit from Guntur. Jai Bheem to all. I am a student of UoH since 2010. I am doing PhD in the social science department. The university has decided to suspend five Dalit students and they have expelled us from the hostel premises. They have said that the notice that we were served says that our presence in public places, hostel premises and administration building can be treated as criminal acts. I am the son of a daily wage labourer and my mother raised me.’’
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The one-man commission of Justice (retired) Roopanwal submitted in its report to the HRD ministry that Vemula’s mother Radhika faked her caste and got certificates issued as SC (Mala) or Dalit. Radhika slammed the report, stating that she does not have to lie about her caste.
“I changed my subject to sociology from biotechnology because of my passion for social science and social issues. I got a junior research fellowship, and I got a seat in the general category in Social Sciences School,” Vemula says in the video.
“This video is proof of Vemula’s caste. It rebuts everything the Roopanwal Commission had to say about his caste,’’ Sannaki said.