Full text: Rohith Vemula’s brother converts to Buddhism, says won’t rest till suicide probed

Raja Vemula said his primary demands are the sacking and arrest of HCU vice-chancellor Appa Rao and the setting-up of a SIT to probe the suicide of his brother Rohith.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: April 14, 2016 1:40 pm
raja-vemula-759-express-photo Rohith Vemula’s brother Raja and mother Radhika at Ambedkar Bhavan in Mumbai. Express Photo/Kavitha Iyer

The family of Dalit PhD scholar Rohith Vemula, whose suicide at Hyderbad Central University in January created a firestorm of protest across the country, converted to Buddhism in Mumbai on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Ambedkar.

Rohith’s mother Radhika and brother Raja were given the “deeksha” by Buddhist monks at a ceremony held at Ambedkar Bhavan in Dadar.

In a statement released, Raja said his primary demands are the sacking and arrest of HCU vice-chancellor Appa Rao  and the setting-up of a SIT to probe the suicide of his brother Rohith.

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Below is the full text of Raja Vemula’s statement released on Thursday:

Jai Bheem

If my brother Rohith Vemula were alive, he would have been proud of the step we have taken today.

From today, my mother, Radhika Vemula and I are going to start the kind of life that Rohith always dreamt of.

The kind of life that Babasaheb Ambedkar wanted us to lead. A life without blind belief. A life based on faith in humanity and not faith in some unknown God. A life based on compassion and respect for fellow human beings. A life of dignity and self respect. A life outside the Hindu caste system.

From today, my mother and I will be truly free. Free from shame. Free from daily humiliation. Free from the guilt of praying to the same God in whose name our people have been tortured for centuries.

From today, my mother and I will always remember the birthday of Babasaheb as the day we got our azaadi from the cains of the caste system.

My brother was extremely keen that our family should follow the path of Buddha. Last November, when he came home to Guntur to attend his best friend Riyaz’s wedding, Rohith anna was dressed in white clothes. When my mother asked him, he said that he had been deeply impressed with the teachings of the Buddha. He said he was wearing clothes that are Buddhist.

He also spoke to us a lot about why Ambedkar had chosen to convert to Buddhism in 1956. He tried to explain what Babasaheb meant when he said that he might have been born as a Hindu but will not die as a Hindu.

At that time we were unable to see the value of what my brother was trying to say. But his death has opened our eyes to the reality of the world around us.

I’m a very simple man, I am here in front of you today because of the ultimate sacrifice made by my brother Rohith Vemula. But now that I am here, I want to caution the people responsible for my brother’s death that I will continue his fight till my last breath. And I am not alone. An entire generation and nation has stood up to continue Rohith’s fight.

Together, all the people fighting for justice for my brother are asking just one simple question. Why doesn’t Prime Minister Narendra Modi say a single word about the HCU Vice Chancellor Appa Rao? When he can shed tears for my brother, why can’t he make a single proper statement about the people responsible for his death.

Our demands are simple. We want Appa Rao to be sacked and arrested. We want a proper investigation into my brother’s death by a Special Investigation Team of the Telangana government. We have no faith in the single-man commission of enquiry appointed by the Modi government.

We are hopeful that Telangana Chief Minister KCR might join the search for the truth behind Rohith’s death. The real political culprits however are the BJP leaders Venkaiah Naidu, Smriti Irani and the Prime Minister himself.

We know the fight is going to be long and hard but we feel strong and hopeful because the spirit of Ambedkar, Buddha and my brother Rohith Vemula is with us.

Jai Bheem

Raja Vemula

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  1. C
    Chandrakant Mohan
    Apr 14, 2016 at 8:42 am
    Radhika and children would secretly visit and pray at the tomb of their hero Yaakub Memon tonight itself !
    1. I
      Apr 14, 2016 at 9:36 am
      Sacrifice!!!! What is the Sacrifice? You should feel ashamed of your actions. You are using your brother's unfortunate death as a attention grabbing moment. There are many Indians who are from not from High end castes feel proud of their heritage. Yes there was discrimination in the past but not to an extent what you are accusing of. You are trying to portray as if you are great visioner Ambedkar ji . You are proving to be a visicious serpant without an aiota of graude towards the country.
      1. R
        Ramakrishnan Iyer
        Apr 14, 2016 at 9:04 am
        It is a fashion to blame everything on particularly brahminism and hinduism in general. There is no religion called hinduism. Do admit still there are people who look down the dalits and the adivasis. This is everywhere. Americans do not appreciate all others because they think that they are super bosses. In Gulf countries they give more importance to Europeans irrespective of the fact that Indians are more in numbers and they have toiled and toiling for years for these countries. Same way, if you go into details of dailits, there are many castes in it. One caste of dalit look down on others and say they are inferior. Same dalits do not like the adivasis. These are all there and will be there. However, first, all of us consider everyone equal and should not denigrate or insult. Suppose, there are 10 dalits and can an upper caste go there he would be insulted. In one of the TV show one of the dalit speaker was telling the upper caste has discriminated them for so long and therefore reservation is a must as a punishment to them. In what way I am concerned for my forefathers ( even if they have done something wrong). This is all rubbish. Whatever may be reason, truth should prevail and all should be equal before law.
        1. M
          Apr 14, 2016 at 11:01 am
          "The real political culprits however are the BJP leaders Venkaiah Naidu, Smriti Irani and the Prime Minister himself. - " ..so narendra modi was behind death of this traitor and anit naitonal and supproter of terorist yakoob memon who killed 1000 in mumbai inculding dalits and buddists...if modi is responsible for suicide of anti national ..i will defienlty vote modi next time in election so taht we will get end of more terorists and anti nationalas from india
          1. M
            Apr 14, 2016 at 11:05 am
            rohits mother and brother are minitng moeny using his death.he will be feeling ashamed of his mother and brothers now..
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