‘Rohith Vemula wasn’t a Dalit’: Here’s What Telangana Police Said in Closure Report While Exonerating UoH VC, BJP Leaders

According to the closure report filed in the case lodged under the SC/ST Act, Rohith was not a Dalit and that he committed suicide out of fear that the reality would come to light.
‘Rohith Vemula wasn’t a Dalit’: Here’s What Telangana Police Said in Closure Report While Exonerating UoH VC, BJP Leaders
Dalit Voice/X

New Delhi: Doubting Rohit Vemula to be a Dalit and speculating that he ended his life out of fear that his true caste identity would be uncovered, the Telangana Police filed a closure report in the alleged “institutional murder” case of the PhD scholar of the University of Hyderabad (UoH).

Investigators exonerated all prime suspects, including Bandaru Dattatreya, the then Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Secunderabad; N Ramachander Rao, president of the BJP’s Hyderabad unit; HoH  Vice Chancellor Appa Rao, Union Minister Smriti Irani; and leaders of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The closure report, which was submitted in the Telangana High Court on May 3, as reported by The News Minute, suggests a different narrative surrounding Rohith’s death. It raises doubts about his caste identity, hinting that he may not have belonged to the Scheduled Caste category as initially assumed. And therefore, he died by suicide fearing that his “real caste identity” would be discovered.

However, it's essential to note that no concrete evidence is provided to substantiate these claims, leaving room for further scrutiny.

It is interesting to note that the report was released four months after the Congress formed government in the state. The closure report has been submitted around 10 days before the state goes to Lok Sabha polls on May 13.

In 2016, the Congress had backed the “Justice for Vemula” campaign, with the party leader Rahul Gandhi promising to “safeguard the right to education and dignity” for Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC) and minorities by enacting the Rohith Vemula Act.

He had in fact invited Rohith’s mother Radhika Vemula to join the grand old party during his most recent ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’. But as of now, neither the Central leadership of the Congress party nor has its state unit commented on the closure report.

The closure report predominantly addresses Vemula's caste association rather than the circumstances that led to his death, despite the fact that the case was primarily registered under Section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.

“No one is responsible for his death, and there is no evidence of any fact or circumstance available on the record — which dragged him to commit suicide,” claims the police report.

It further states that Rohith’s mother obtained the SC certificate for him, and he was “aware that he does not belong to the Scheduled Caste”. The deceased, according to the police, might have been afraid that if this were to come to light, he would lose his academic degrees and might face legal action.

It is worth mentioning that Radhika has consistently insisted that she is a member of the SC Mala caste and was brought up as a domestic worker by an OBC Vaddera family. Mani Kumar, Rohith’s father, was a member of the Vaddera community as well. He left Radhika and her kids when he learned that she was a Dalit.

Clearing the political figures and the university administration, including VC Rao, against whom the lawsuit was registered, the report claims that Rohith killed himself because “he had his own problems and was not happy with worldly affairs”. Despite his excellent academic record, it holds the deceased accountable for “appearing to be involved more in student political issues in the campus than studies”.

According to the closure report, Rohit most likely would have written in precise terms or made some other indication if he had been upset about the university’s decision. However, he did not follow suit. It demonstrates, the investigators conclude, that Rohith’s death was not caused by the conditions that existed at the university at the time.

These judgments have been made in spite of the fact that Rohith sent VC Rao a snarky letter in which he sharply criticized the varsity administration for the way Dalit students were treated. “Please give all Dalit students 10 mg of sodium azide upon admission, along with instructions to have it whenever they feel like reading Ambedkar,” he had written in his suicide letter, adding, “Send a nice rope to the rooms of all Dalit students from companion, the great Chief Warden. Students like him should have access to euthanasia”.

The closure report also mentions that Radhika was asked by the investigating officer (IO) if she would undergo a DNA test for determination of her caste identity. “I asked her if she would be willing to have her DNA tested and compared with samples of her family members to determine if they were biologically related to her or not. She remained silent,” reads the report.

The report goes on to say that the expulsion of Rohith and other leaders of the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) from their hostel rooms was in accordance with the university disciplinary rules. The rules referred to in the order in question were “in keeping with Clause Proctor 9(1) and 9 (2) of the Statues of University of Hyderabad”.

The Mooknayak talked to ASA ex-convenor Gopi Swamy. He had just left the court and was returning to the campus. “The Telangana Police closure report seems to have been inspired by the propaganda of the state and the ABVP,” he alleged.

He claimed the statements of Rohit’s fellow scholar scholars have been distorted and altered in the report in order to prove that the deceased was not a Dalit and to punish the socially boycotted group.

Talking about the future course of action, he said all student organizations of the university will go to lower courts together to file a petition in order to contest the police report.

At the same time, he said, they will mobilize the other student organizations to condemn the report.

The Mooknayak also tried to reach out to Rohit’s brother Raja Vemula, but he declined to comment.

Before ending his life, Rohit had written an emotional note, which is as follows:

Good morning,

I would not be around when you read this letter. Don’t get angry with me. I know some of you truly cared for me, loved me and treated me very well. I have no complaints. It was always with myself that I had problems. I feel a growing gap between my soul and my body. And I have become a monster. I always wanted to be a writer. A writer of science, like Carl Sagan. At last, this is the only letter I am getting to write.

I always wanted to be a writer. A writer of science, like Carl Sagan.

I loved science, stars, nature, but then I loved people without knowing that people have long since divorced from nature. Our feelings are second handed. Our love is constructed. Our beliefs coloured. Our originality is valid through artificial art. It has become truly difficult to love without getting hurt.

The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of stardust. In every field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living.

I am writing this kind of letter for the first time. I am writing a final letter for the first time. Forgive me if I fail to make sense.

My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.

Maybe I was wrong, all the while, in understanding the world. In understanding love, pain, life, death. There was no urgency. But I was always rushing. Desperate to start a life. All the while, some people, life itself is cursed. My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.

I am not hurt at this moment. I am not sad. I am just empty. Unconcerned about myself. That’s pathetic. And that’s why I am doing this.

People may dub me as a coward. And selfish, or stupid once I am gone. I am not bothered about what I am called. I don’t believe in after-death stories, ghosts, or spirits. If there is anything at all I believe, I believe that I can travel to the stars. And know about the other worlds.

If you, who is reading this letter, can do anything for me, I have to get 7 months of my fellowship, one lakh and seventy-five thousand rupees. Please see to it that my family is paid that. I have to give some 40 thousand to Ramji. He never asked them back. But please pay for him.

Let my funeral be silent and smooth. Behave like I just appeared and gone. Do not shed tears for me. Know that I am happier dead than being alive.

“From shadows to the stars.”

Uma anna, sorry for using your room for this thing.

To the ASA family, sorry for disappointing all of you. You loved me very much. I wish all the very best for the future.

For one last time,

Jai Bheem

I forgot to write the formalities. No one is responsible for my act of killing myself.

No one has instigated me, whether by their acts or by their words to this act. This is my decision and I am the only one responsible for this. Do not trouble my friends and enemies on this after I am gone.

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