Rohit Vermula declared non-Dalit on just two testimonies
A recent AP government-ordered probe declared Hyderabad scholar Rohith Vemula an OBC and not a Dalit, based on opinions of only his estranged father and paternal grandmother, and ignored five other interviewees. The affidavit by local councillor Upalapathy Danamma, who recommended SC certificates, wasn't considered. The report also says his brother is married to a Vaddera girl, when his wife is actually Muslim.
Five Dalit scholars from the University of Hyderabad were denied entry in the university premises and barred from participating in the students' election. This unjust administrative decision, taken by the University, was alleged to be politically influenced by BJP Union Minister for Labour Dattatreya and BJP MLC Ramachandra Rao. This was done due to a fallout between the Ambedkar Student Association (ASA) and ABVP.
The Dalit scholars were boycotted as an aftermath of a Facebook post made by Susheel Kumar, President of ABVP-HCU, where he called the ASA 'goons'. Susheel apologized calling it an emotional outburst for the recent DU incident and also, made allegations against five Dalit ASA supporters for assaulting him even after an official apology. An enquiry committee was set which suspended the five Dalits.
On 1 August, ABVP supporters stopped the screening of the documentary on 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots in DU for propagating anti-Hindu sentiments. The ASA students reacted to the ABVP by holding protests for the next two days around the campus.
Members of the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice decided to go on a fast for the revocation on the judgment of the Dalit scholars. Over 30 students occupied the University's administration building lobby and didn't allow the employees to enter till the decision was modified. The students burnt effigies and raised slogans against the University's administration and RSS-BJP for saffronizing the education system.
One of the boycotted dalits, Rohith Vemula hung himself from the ceiling fan using ASA banner as the noose and was discovered by his friend Vijay. The suicide led to more protests where the Dean of Students Welfare, Deputy Registrar and security guards were attacked. The students kept the body at the hostel entrance and demanded the Vice Chancellor's presence.
Rohith Vemula was a Ph.D. scholar in Society Sciences and Science Technology in UoH. He was also the student leader for ASA and worked for the welfare of Dalits until he was boycotted by the University administration.
Rohith Vemula, the victim who committed suicide, was taken for post-mortem and autopsy reports are awaited. Gachibowli police are booking Union Minister Dattatreya for abetting the suicide of the Dalit scholar and also, the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act for the decision against the five Dalit scholars. Students have decided to write to HRD minister Smriti Irani against Dattatreya.
In January 2016, Rohith Vemula, a PhD student committed suicide at the University of Hyderabad after alleged caste-based discrimination. Since then, his mother Radhika Vemula has been fighting for justice for her son, gathering support in different parts of the country. Government reports have submitted contradictory findings and the focus largely remains unshifted from his caste-status as a Dalit.
The Andhra Pradesh government declared that Rohith Vemula, was not a Dalit but was in fact a member of the Vaddera community, which falls under the OBC category. The government will cancel the Scheduled Caste certificate that Vemula and his mother Radhika allegedly obtained by fraudulent means. The government issued a show-cause notice to Radhika asking her to furnish documentary-evidence of being a Dalit.