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Rohith Vemula’s mother accepts Rs 8 lakh compensation from University of Hyderabad

Rohith Vemula, a research scholar at the University of Hyderabad, had committed suicide allegedly due to humiliation meted out by the central university authorities. His mother refused to accept the compensation earlier.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2018 16:12 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Rohith Vemula,University of Hyderabad,UoH
Rohith Vemula's mother Radhika detained by Delhi Police during a candle march at India Gate in New Delhi, in February 2016.(HT File Photo)

The mother of Rohith Vemula, a research scholar at University of Hyderabad who killed himself after alleged caste-based discrimination more than two years ago, has accepted a compensation of Rs 8 lakh from the varsity and said she will continue to fight for justice for her son.

A Dalit student, Rohith killed himself on the campus on January 17, 2016, allegedly due to the humiliation meted out to him by the university authorities following a clash with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) leaders.

His mother Radhika said in a statement on Tuesday that she decided to take the compensation on the advice of her lawyer.

She said she refused to accept the money when it was initially offered because she was under the wrong impression that the money was being offered at the behest of university vice-chancellor P Appa Rao and thought that they were trying to buy her silence.

Appa Rao, former Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya and three more people were accused of abetting his suicide.

“However, I came to know later that the compensation is being paid as per the orders of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes headed by PL Punia, which certified Rohith as a Dalit,” she said.

Radhika said she was accepting the money openly as there was every possibility of the university authorities of spreading the propaganda that she had succumbed to the lure of money.

“But, my fight will continue till those responsible for the death of my son are brought to book,” she asserted.

Rohith’s death triggered countrywide protests and put the spotlight on student politics, campus unrest and atrocities against Dalits, making the 26-year-old student-activist the rallying point of protests, discourses and debates over societal prejudices against people of lower castes.

The controversy over his caste status continues to simmer after the Justice Roopanwal Commission, which probed his death, and revenue officials of Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh, the student’s birthplace, held that he was not a Dalit.

According to the revenue officials, who submitted a report in February 2017, Vemula was a Vaddera, a community in the other backward class category. The Justice Roopanwal panel had said as much.

Radhika has been fighting for justice for her son, travelled to different parts of the country to address students and mobilise support to punish the perpetrators and enact a non-discrimination “Rohith” act.

First Published: Feb 21, 2018 16:12 IST