Panel says Rohith Vemula was a Dalit, his family to get state benefits
The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has officially ruled that Rohith Vemula, the research scholar of the University of Hyderabad whose suicide on January 17 this year created a nationwide uproar, was a Dalit.
The commission has given the ruling after conducting a series of hearings on Vemula’s suicide and studying reports from the Andhra Pradesh government on his caste affiliation. It has directed the state government to extend all benefits to Vemula’s family, including house, employment and monetary help, as per rules, as the family comes under the BPL category.
“We were waiting for a report from Guntur district administration. We got the report in June. The district administration conducted a detailed probe and it concluded that Rohit Vemulla was a Dalit,” said PL Punia, chairperson of the commission.
Vemula hailed from Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.
“The district administration gave us a detailed report. It also produced documents that showed over many years, not only Rohit, but his brother, sister and mother had been shown as Dalits. We examined the documents and came to the conclusion that Rohit Vemula was a Dalit,” said Punia.
The NCSC has called a meeting on August 23 where it will review the action taken by the state government and the progress of the cases filed on Vemula’s death.
Though commission chairman PL Punia submitted his findings to the government on June 22, the report surfaced only a couple of days ago. “Obviously, the report was suppressed by the government as well as university authorities to deny justice to Rohith Vemula,” Sannaki Munna, leader of the UoH Joint Action Committee for Social
Justice, told HT. Vemula’s family was not available for comment. Guntur collector Kantilal Dande told HT that the district administration would take all measures to implement the recommendations of the NCSC.
(With inputs from New Delhi)