The controversy over the caste of HCU research scholar Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide on January 17, refuses to die down with Telangana police on the basis of its investigations so far saying his mother belongs to Vaddera community suggesting he is not a dalit.
In an internal communication titled “submission of instructions” to Government Pleader (GP), Home, High Court, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Madhapur Division, Cyberabad Police M Ramana Kumar said as per the statement of Rohith’s father Vemula Naga Mani Kumar, the scholar’s mother Vemula Radhika belongs to a Backward Classes community Vaddera and not Scheduled Caste (SC). Rohith was a student at the Hyderabad Central University (HCU).
Mani Kumar had earlier told reporters that he also belongs to Vaddera community.
The communication said the Investigation Officer in the suicide case also recorded the statements of Rohith’s paternal grandparents, who also corroborated Mani Kumar’s statement.
“The I.O further examined and recorded the statement of the (Gurajala) village Sarpanch Mahankali Seethamma who stated that the family of the deceased is known to her and distantly related to her and they all, including Vemula Radhika, mother of the deceased belong to Vaddera caste,” it said.
Vemula Radhika while taking exception to the statement made by Mani Kumar had, however, claimed that she belonged to SC (Mala) caste.
“My husband belongs to Vaddera caste. After birth of my third child, we got separated over family disputes.
Thereafter, I took care of my three children, and lived in a Mala locality. Three of my children were brought up in the locality following SC Mala customs,” she had maintained while addressing the media at University of Hyderabad on January 23.
A requisition was also filed before the Guntur Urban Tahsildar to enquire and certify the caste of Radhika and her two brothers. “Accordingly, enquiry was conducted and it was certified that Vemula Radhika and her brothers are Vaddera (BC) by caste,” the ACP said in his communication to the GP.
The requisition also referred to media reports wherein Radhika’s mother claimed that Radhika was not her biological child and that she adopted her. “This fact is yet to be verified by the investigation agency,” he said.
“As the University of Hyderabad was not functioning, as the mother of the deceased and other witnesses were busy in the agitation, no further investigation could be conducted.
The case is pending for further investigation,” it added.
When asked if the police enquiry found out that Rohith’s mother was not Dalit and if she belonged to BC, a top Telangana police official told, “Investigation is not (yet) final. Once it is finalised, we will let you know”.
The official termed the communication as a “confidential document”.
“It’s an instruction which are to be given (GP) when the case is coming up in the High Court. It’s not a report. GP, Home, is our advocate in the High Court. He is our Government Pleader,” the official said.