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Here's What Dalit Scholar Rohith Vemula Said in Video Shot Week Before His Suicide
Radhika, mother of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, during a protest over her son's death at Jantar Mantar on March 2, 2016. (PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES)
Hyderabad: Nine months after Hyderabad Central University scholar Rohith Vemula committed suicide, a video has surfaced in which he emotionally speaks about about being a Dalit, his suspension from the varsity and his spat with ABVP not being a new one.
“Jai Bhim, My name is Rohith Vemula. I'm a Dalit coming from Guntur district. I joined Hyderabad central university in 2010 (sic),” the research scholar is heard saying in the beginning of the video clip.
He goes on to talk about the suspension of five Dalit scholars, including him, by university authorities. It was alleged after his suicide that the suspensions were done at the behest of ABVP activists, who allegedly had the backing of Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya.
“Recently university has taken decision to suspend five Dalit students. They expelled us from hostel premises. They served us a notice which says our presence in public places hotels administrative places will be treated as criminal act (sic)," Vemula says in the video.
"I joined the university as a student of MSc Bio-technology but I shifted to sociology as I had passion for social issues. I got seat in general category. My spat with ABVP is not new. In 2012 also they had filed a case against me and after that I was kept in police station for two days (sic)," he says.
The video was shot for a Facebook campaign sometime between January 5 and 10 this year – a week before Vemula’s suicide — by his friend Prabhakar at a velivada, the Telugu word for Dalit colonies. Vemula’s friends say the video will answer all those doubting the Dalit status of his family. News18 could not independently verify the authenticity of the video.
An HRD ministry-appointed panel had recently expressed doubts over the Dalit status of Vemula’s family and had absolved the Hyderabad varsity of charges of caste-based discrimination.
Vemula hung himself in his hostel room on January 17. Protests erupted on the campus the next day and spread to as far as Delhi, where the Modi government was forced to deny allegations of being anti-Dalit.
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