Confirmed: Government Says Rohith Vemula Was A Dalit

17/06/2016 8:53 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
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NEW DELHI, INDIA - MARCH 2: Radhika, mother of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, during a protest by Youth Congress against Union Minister Smriti Irani over her son's death at Jantar Mantar on March 2, 2016 in New Delhi, India. 26-year-old Rohith Vemula, a Dalit PhD scholar, was found hanging at the Central University’s hostel room on January 17. (Photo by Arun Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Months after the BJP-led union government denied that Rohith Vemula, the research scholar at University of Hyderabad who committed suicide in January, was a Dalit, the Guntur district administration has certified that he was a Dalit, according to news reports.

26-year-old Vemula’s suicide in January stirred the nation and triggered protests across the country.

In a report, Guntur collector Kantilal Dande to the National Commission of Scheduled Castes has confirmed that Vemula was a Mala Hindu, a Dalit community from Andhra Pradesh. The report was prepared after interactions that Guntur’s tehsildar had with Vemula’s relatives, neighbours, and local members of the area where he grew up.

Days after Vemula was founding hanging in his friend's room in the university, Human Resource and Development Minister Smriti Irani had said that Rohith Vemula's suicide was not a caste battle.

"This is not a Dalit versus non-Dalit confrontation," Irani had said.

“Based on the field study, the joint collector had prepared the report certifying Rohith as a Mala. I will appear personally before the commission on June 20 to officially present the facts,” Dande told The Hindustan Times.

Based on the latest report that confirms Vemula’s Dalit status, University of Hyderabad Joint Action Committee for Social Justice is expected to file a fresh petition in the Hyderabad high Court to demanding action against Appa Rao Podile, the vice-chancellor of the university under SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act, news reports said.

“Since the government itself has admitted that Rohith was a Dalit, we are consulting our lawyers to file a fresh petition in the court,” JAC leader Sannaki Munna told The Hindustan Times.

Vemula’s friends are fighting a case against the vice chancellor and the Union minister of state for labour Bandaru Dattatreya and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) leader Sushil Kumar under the SC/ST atrocities act in the Hyderabad High Court.

Podile had challenged the petition in February saying Vemula was not a Dalit.

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