Sushma Swaraj Says Rohit Vemula Not A Dalit:
Hyderabad University research scholar Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide earlier this month, was not a Dalit, External affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said. The facts have come out in the case and as per as my knowledge, that student (Rohith) was not a Dalit, she said in Thane adding that the controversy over his caste was baseless.
Rohith hung himself days after he and four Dalit students were suspended by the university, allegedly for assaulting an activist of the ABVP, a student body with close links to the BJP, in August.
His suicide stirred a political and public uproar, with students and the opposition alleging that he was persecuted by caste discrimination.
A month before his suicide, Rohit wrote to Professor P Appa Rao, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, asking him to give poison or “a nice rope” to Dalit students. In the letter, he identified himself repeatedly as a member of “(the) Dalit self-respect movement” and suggested the persecution on campus for “students like me” was so widespread that the campus should facilitate euthanasia.
Yesterday, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi joined student protesters in a mass hunger strike at the university and targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the end of his fast. “My main opposition to the Prime Minister and the RSS is that they are trying to crush the spirit of Indian students and youngsters by imposing one idea from the top,” he said.
The BJP has said Mr Gandhi was “politicizing” the death of the research scholar and “playing politics on dead bodies”.