A report submitted by the judicial committee set up by the HRD Ministry following the suicide of Rohith Vemula has revealed that Vemula’s mother had falsely branded herself as a Dalit to avail the benefits of reservation.
The report, prepared by former Allahabad High Court judge A K Roopanwal, also states that the decision to expel Rohit from the hostel was the ‘most reasonable’ decision the university could have taken and it was ‘personal frustration’ that drove him to commit suicide. During the course of his investigation, Roopanwal failed to find evidence to suggest that Radhika belongs to ‘Mala’ community and described the mother’s claim as ‘improbable and unbelievable.’ Further, the report also suggests that Rohit was not subjected to discrimination. It also rejects the notion that the university’s decision to expel him from the hostel was taken under political pressure.
The report submitted by Roopanwal reconfirms what earlier reports, including one submitted by the Madhapur ACP M Ramana Kumar to the Government Pleader (GP) for Telangana Home department, had established. In his report, based on the statements given by village tahsildar, family members, ACP M Ramana Kumar stated that Rohit belongs to the Vaddera cast which falls under the non-Dalit backward category.
While the unfortunate suicide of Rohit, a bright young scholar was truly tragic, his disputed caste identity has been used in a sinister manner by radical Leftist and few fringe Dalit groups to further their ideological agenda. The Left, Congress and AAP used the suicide as a political ploy to target the Bharatiya Janta Party and paint it as 'anti Dalit'.
The contestation over a dead man's caste identity is repulsive but becomes a weighty legal issue given that the activists of left-leaning student unions registered a case invoking the provisions of Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against Union Minister of State Bandaru Dattatreya, Vice-Chancellor Appa Rao and ABVP leader N Susheel Kumar and MLC N Ramachandra Rao.
During the height of the agitation, then HRD minister Smriti Irani had fervently appealed to not inject the caste narrative to the suicide and expressed her grief at the loss of precious life. “Please do not instigate students and communities deliberately...There has been a malicious attempt to ignite passions and present this as a caste battle which it is not. It is not a Dalit versus non-Dalit confrontation as have been the efforts of some to project it that way," Smriti Irani had said.
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