Rejecting the judicial commission’s report on Rohith Vemula’s suicide as “fake and fictitious”, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) Chairman P L Punia on Thursday said the deceased Hyderabad Univeristy research scholar was a Dalit. Punia’s remarks came in response to the reports that the one-man judicial commission of former judge of Allahabad High Court A K Roopanwal, has observed that Vemula did not belong to the Scheduled Caste (SC) community.
“The commission was formed to find out why Rohit Vemula committed suicide and who were responsible for his death. Instead of working as per the mandate, the commission was trying to find out the caste of Vemula which is unfortunate,” Punia, Chairman, National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) told reporters.
“Its findings are fake and fictitious. The final authority on caste is District Collector, and the Collector with conclusive evidences has given us report that he is a Scheduled Caste (person) and does not belong backward class,” Punia added.
Amid a nation-wide outrage on educational campuses over Vemula’s suicide, the Roopanwal commission was constituted to probe the reasons for it. Vemula had been suspended by the university a few days before he committed suicide.
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 commission has held Vemula was not a Dalit. Punia said the suicide by the Dalit scholar was “painful and unfortunate”. Vemula had committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling of a hostel room in the university.
The suicide by Vemula had triggered a huge political storm with opposition parties launching a massive attack on the Union government over the issue. They also accused the university authorities of mishandling the situation, which led to Vemula’s suicide.