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‘Rohith Vemula was not Dalit’: Telangana Police close the case, find no fault of any BJP leader, the entire ecosystem had used the death to target BJP

According to the closure report, Rohith Vemula was "aware that he does not belong to the Scheduled Caste" and received the SC certificate from his mother. It adds that this could have been one of Rohith Vemula's continuous fears, as disclosing it could have ended in the loss of academic degrees and perhaps prosecution.

In the 2016 Rohith Vemula death case, the Telangana Police filed a closure report and submitted the same before the Telangana High Court on the 3rd of May. In the closure report, the police said that Rohith Vemula, a PhD scholar at the University of Hyderabad who died by suicide, did not belong to the Scheduled Caste category. The police said Rohith Vemula died by suicide fearing that his real caste identity would be discovered.

The Telangana Police also cleared former Secunderabad MP Bandaru Dattatreya, Legislative Council Member N Ramachander Rao, Vice Chancellor Appa Rao, ABVP leaders, and union minister Smriti Irani.

“There is no evidence of any fact or circumstance available on the record which dragged him to commit suicide and no one is responsible for his death,” the report reads. The report says that Rohith Vemula committed suicide because “he had his own problems and was not happy with worldly affairs. If he would have been angry with the decision of the University, certainly either he would have written in specific words or would have indicated in this regard. But he did not do the same. It shows that the circumstances prevailing in the university at the time were not the reason for Rohith’s death.”

According to the closure report, Rohith Vemula was “aware that he does not belong to the Scheduled Caste” and received the SC certificate from his mother. It adds that this could have been one of Rohith Vemula’s continuous fears, as disclosing it could have ended in the loss of academic degrees and perhaps prosecution.

Rohith Vemula was made the symbol of ‘upper-caste’ vengeance against Dalits, even though he was not a Dalit

As the police have confirmed that Rohith Vemula was not a Dalit and absolved the abovementioned BJP leaders in the case, it is pertinent to recall the Congress and other political parties as well as their media allies launched a scathing attack on the so-called upper caste Hindus, the BJP and Prime Minister Modi over the death. The opposition and the ‘ecosystem’ used a young and bright Rohith Vemula’s death for its own gains.

The assertion that he was a Dalit, which was later disputed and now confirmed by the police that he was not a member of the Scheduled Caste category, prompted opposition political parties and liberals to raise the caste discrimination bogey and build a narrative accusing the Modi government of oppressing lower caste groups of society. This came, even though his suicide note expressed his dissatisfaction with the Students Federation of India (SFI).

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had gone a step ahead and even questioned if PM Modi’s tears were real when in expressed grief over Rohith’s death. “The PM gave a speech where he expressed grief and agony over the death of the scholar. People say he even had tears…I would ask him..If you are saddened, if your tears are real, then act against the V-C who crushed and intimated that boy and sack him. The nation’s poor and Dalit are looking up at Mr. Modi seeking answers, will our PM take action.”

Rahul Gandhi and many other opposition leaders continued to peddle the narrative that a “Dalit” student was oppressed and coerced into committing suicide claiming that the reality was being strangulated, even though reality was far from what Gandhi and the ecosystem were peddling.

“They say Rohit Vemula committed suicide.I call it murder.He was murdered by the indignities he suffered. He was killed because he was a Dalit. Hitler, once wrote: Keep a firm grasp on reality, so you can strangle it at any time. This is what is happening today-strangulation of reality,” Rahul Gandhi posted back in 2017.

Rohith Vemula’s death was dishonestly turned into a political conflict between Dalits and Non-Dalits. Besides Rahul Gandhi, now-jailed AAP supremo and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had wasted no time in exploiting the incident and pulling the Modi government into disrepute. An online mob of leftists posing as custodians of Dalits engaged in vulture activism to discredit the Modi government. They stated that the University’s discriminatory treatment of him in comparison to students belonging to the general category prompted him to take the extreme step.

Attacking the Modi government over Rohith’s death, Kejriwal had claimed that the PhD scholar was forced to commit suicide as he was “talking about Baba Saheb Ambedkar”. Kejriwal also tried to exploit Rohith’s disputed Dalit identity to gain political points against PM Modi and the BJP.

“Rohith Vemula was forced to commit suicide for talking about Babasaheb among students. Why people who are holding constitutional offices not acting against those who forced him to commit suicide? Will Babasaheb’s dream be fulfilled by the Prime Minister going to Mhou and garlanding his portrait? I just want to say, Modi is not country, RSS is not Parliament and Manusmriti is not the Constitution,” Kejriwal said in April 2016.

Justice Ashok Kumar Roopanwal (retired), who investigated the events at the University of Hyderabad that led to the suicide of student Rohith Vemula, stated in his report that “the suicide did not relate to any activities of the university administration or the above political leaders, including the vice-chancellor, Prof. Appa Rao Podile. It was wholly a decision of his own…”

Even as authorities confirmed that Rohit Vemula was not a Dalit, politicians and the ‘ecosystem’ used his death to vilify non-Dalit Hindus and attack the Modi government

Earlier, Rohith Vemula’s father had stated that he and his wife belong to the Veddera caste and not the Mala of Madigas (SC/ST). This contradicted the reports which indicated that, while Rohith’s father was a Veddera, his mother was a Dalit (SC or ST), and Rohith chose his mother’s caste following her separation from her spouse. His father claimed that his son was murdered and blasted leftists for using his son’s death as a basis for an attack on the Modi government. Notably, Rohith’s mother Radhika Vemula had claimed that she was born into a Mala caste (SC) family and was raised by a Veddera caste family, the police report, however, has now confirmed that Rohith was not a Dalit.

Back in 2017, it was reported that the Andhra Pradesh government had cancelled Rohith Vemula’s scheduled caste certificate and declared that he was a member of the OBC. The government said that the SC certificate was “fraudulently” obtained.

Years passed but Rohith’s death was exploited to foment hatred against the non-Dalit Hindus and adherents of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. In 2020, a programme was organized in memory of Rohith Vemula in Mumbai’s Dadar. This programme, however, was more of an anti-CAA event than about remembering Rohith Vemula. As OpIndia reported back then, here were chants of Azaadi and the protesters also sang songs against the RSS. Inciting violence, the protestors also chanted slogans like ‘Joote Maro Sanghiyon Ko’. Anti-BJP/RSS songs were also sung. The Joint Action Committee For Social Justice had distributed pamphlets calling for demolishing the “Hindu Rashtra”. It also vilified Brahmins urged to “intensify struggle against Brahminical Hindutva fascism”, reject CAA-NRC-NPR etc.

In addition to calling up people to hit “Sanghis” with shoes, the protestors including one Christian pastor even raised slogans against “Brahmanvadis” and “Sanatanis” (Hindus).

Rohit Vemula has long been portrayed as a symbol of upper-caste retribution against Dalits by the left-liberal and Hindu-hating milieu, despite the fact that the truth is quite different. Ironically, the leftists used Vemula’s unfortunate death to their political ideological interests while Rohith, in his suicide note had expressed his anguish and frustration with the leftist student organisations.

“ASA, SFI, anything and everything exist for their own sake. Seldom the interest of a person and this organisation match. To get power, to become famous or to be important in between boundaries and to think we are up to changing the system. Very often we overestimate the acts and find solace in traits,” Rohith wrote.

Rohith’s words were echoed by another student leader from leftists student organization SFI (Student Federation of India), Raju Kumar Sahu who had alleged that the leftist student bodies were using Rohith’s death for political gains.

From an average Hindu-hating social media troll to various opposition parties, and their ‘friendly’ media has used and politicised Rohith Vemula’s death, no one has been as consistent as the Congress party. In spite of being aware of the case’s findings, the Congress party has decided to keep the issue alive by dragging Vemula’s suicide in its 2024 election manifesto. Page 7 of the Congress manifesto reads, “We will enact the Rohith Vemula Act to address discrimination faced by students belonging to the backward and oppressed communities in educational institutions.”

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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