Justice Roopanwal Commission, which probed the circumstances leading to Rohith Vemula’s suicide, was appointed to put a “seal of approval” on claims that he was not a Dalit, National Commission for Scheduled Castes Chairman P L Punia alleged today. “He (Roopanwal) was not judicious. In fact, I would say he was hired to put a seal of approval on what the political party (BJP) people were saying..,” Punia said.
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He said, as per the Commission’s terms of reference, it was constituted to ascertain the circumstances that led to Vemula’s suicide and fix responsibility. “It was not formed to ascertain or assess the case of Vemula…and as per Guntur Collector’s report submitted to the Commission, Vemula was a Dalit. And the final authority on caste is District Collector,” Punia added.
Punia’s remarks came in response to news reports that the Roopanwal Commission, has observed that Vemula did not belong to a Scheduled Caste. The Roopanwal panel had recently submitted its report to the UGC. Though its contents are yet to be made public officially, some reports said the panel has held Vemula was not a Dalit. A Hyderabad University research scholar, Vemula had
committed suicide in January this year, a few days after he was suspended from the campus. His suicide had triggered a huge political storm with opposition parties launching a massive attack on the Modi government over the issue.
Amid a nation-wide outrage on educational campuses over Vemula’s suicide, the Human Resource Development Ministry had appointed the judicial commission of former judge of Allahabad High Court A K Roopanwal to go into the matter.
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