Telangana Police files closure report in Rohith Vemula suicide case, claims research scholar wasn’t a Dalit

TCN News

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).

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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”. reached out to Rohit’s brother Raja Vemula, but he declined to comment.