Rohith Vemula was not a Dalit, says probe panel set up by HRD Ministry

Rohith Vemula’s brother Raja, however, rejected the observation of the judicial commission.

Written by Ritika Chopra | New Delhi | Updated: October 6, 2016 2:19 pm
rohith vemula, rohith vemula suicide, Hyderabad rohith vemula, report on Rohith Vemula suicide, dalit student, dalit suicide, dalit student suicide, smriti irani, dalit student death, hyderabad dalit student, rohith vemula news, india news Rohith Vemula committed suicide on January 17.

The one-man judicial commission, set up by the Ministry of Human Resource Development to probe the circumstances leading to Rohith Vemula’s suicide at the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) in January this year, has said that the 26-year-old research scholar did not belong to the Scheduled Caste (SC) community.

Former Allahabad High Court judge A K Roopanwal, who was appointed by the then HRD Minister Smriti Irani, is learnt to have submitted his report to the University Grants Commission (UGC) in the first week of August, UGC sources said.

Watch| Rohith Vemula Not A Dalit, Neither His Mother: HRD Commission’s Findings

 

The report’s observation that Vemula wasn’t a Dalit is significant against the backdrop of the controversy fuelled by Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj and Thaawarchand Gehlot, who had questioned the student’s caste identity. Both Swaraj and Gehlot had said that Vemula belonged to the Vaddera community — a caste which falls under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category — and that his suicide was being projected as an issue of caste discrimination to fuel tempers.

Read the full coverage on Rohith Vemula suicide case

The establishment of Vemula’s caste status is important because Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and HCU vice-chancellor Appa Rao were named in an FIR lodged by the police under the SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act for abetting his suicide.

 

Reached for comment, Roopanwal did not deny submitting the report, but said, “I cannot answer your questions. Please direct all your questions on the contents of the report to the government.”

New HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “You seem to be more knowledgeable than me on this issue. I was out of the city for the last five days and haven’t seen this report. Maybe it was submitted to the UGC. I will have to check and get back.”

Rohith Vemula’s brother Raja, however, rejected the observation of the judicial commission. “We lived like Dalits. We were raised in a Dalit community. Yes, my father was from a backward class, but whatever we know is from our experience of living like a Dalit. We have been discriminated against all our lives. Rohith referred to this in his letter too.”

Vemula’s suicide note referred to his birth as a fatal accident. “My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past,” the note recovered by police stated.

Incidentally, Justice Roopanwal’s observation is at odds with the report submitted by Guntur District Collector Kantilal Dande to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC).

P L Punia, chairman of the NCSC, told The Indian Express: “The District Collector is the final authority in this matter. He has already submitted a report that Vemula was a Dalit. All records and investigations proved he was a Dalit. What was the need for this new committee? I don’t know what this new report is all about.”

“The BJP government and its ministers have been trying to prove since the beginning that he was not a Dalit. Obviously, they want to favour their minister who is facing an FIR. There can’t be a bigger example of anti-Dalit mentality by this government. It’s a conspiracy against Dalits.”

The HRD Ministry had announced a judicial commission on January 28 this year after its fact-finding committee held the university responsible for Vemula’s suicide. The panel had also reported that students felt discriminated on campus.

In November 2015, the university’s executive council had expelled five students, all said to be Dalits, from the hostel and barred their access to public places on campus. They were, however, allowed to attend lectures and pursue their research. The students were punished for allegedly assaulting an ABVP student leader. The issue snowballed into a political storm after Vemula committed suicide in a hostel room on January 17 this year.

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  1. A
    Abhinav Gour
    Aug 24, 2016 at 4:05 am
    Just some days back a Probe Panel had Submitted its Report that Rohit was infact a Dalit and now the HRD Ministry which itself is an Accused in the Dalit Students Suicide wants us Indian to believe otherwise???
    Reply
    1. I
      Islam
      Aug 24, 2016 at 5:13 am
      I just checked everything against the facts and none came out true in fact it seems you are a liar.
      Reply
      1. B
        Bob
        Aug 24, 2016 at 2:31 am
        Cast politics at its worst form ! How does it matter if he was Dalit or treated like Dalit ? A human being ended his life. That was a tragedy ! Politicians smelled an opportunity to use this tragedy for their selfish purpose.
        Reply
        1. H
          hayatlives
          Aug 24, 2016 at 5:37 am
          Yes..he was not a dalit, infact he was not even human....he was a robot... Happy ? Chaddis....
          Reply
          1. C
            Cha cha
            Aug 24, 2016 at 3:32 am
            This was an open and shut case of an individual grown up taking his own life. Instead the presutes media Congie Commie Kachuliwal all used it to ante their hatred on government. What a shame.
            Reply
            1. A
              Ali
              Aug 24, 2016 at 5:04 am
              Every day people like Usam get up yonder how to divide and spread hatred while his cousins the Sunni are spreading terrorism worldwide. Even poor Shia are not safe. Jinnah is rotating in his grave as he was a Shia and he made a grave mistake of trusting Sunni in dividing India from Hindus. By the way Hitler was a fundamentalist Christian.
              Reply
            2. A
              Amar Akbar
              Aug 24, 2016 at 5:16 am
              Sunni all over the world are doing the same jihad in the name of Allah the benevolent. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;In two years, 2010 and 2011, 128 people were kiIIed and 443 were injured in 22 attacks on Shrines and tombs of saints and religious people in stan, most of them Sufi in orientation
              Reply
              1. K
                Kumarpushp
                Aug 24, 2016 at 9:13 pm
                Shiv ram you Hindus are born bas. You mother might have gone so many people that why she is mothering bast ard like you
                Reply
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