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Video of Rohith Vemula asserting his Dalit status surfaces

Press Trust of India  |  Hyderabad 

A video, purportedly showing Central University (HCU) research scholar Rohith Vemula, who allegedly committed suicide in January, claiming that he is a Dalit has gone viral, days after a judicial panel reportedly rejected his caste status in its probe report.

In the video, appeared to have been shot at a tent (named as 'Dalit ghetto') near the Shopcom area in HCU where Vemula and his other colleagues had stayed following their suspension, Vemula talked about himself and his background.

He is purportedly seen describing himself as a Dalit from Guntur district (of Andhra Pradesh) and that his mother raised him.

Vemula also talked about his suspension, his studies and students' activism in the video clip.

After he committed suicide, Vemula's family members, friends besides political parties alleged that he was a victim of caste discrimination.

Students, political parties and social groups had demanded that a 'Rohith Act' be brought to end the alleged discrimination in educational institutions against the students belonging to disadvantaged sections.

In its report, the Justice Roopanwal Commission, set up by Union HRD Ministry, has stated that material on record did not establish that Vemula was a Dalit and attributed his suicide to personal reasons.

The report also gave a clean chit to Union ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya besides absolving HCU authorities of any blame for Vemula's death.

The Commission is learnt to have raised questions about Vemula's caste status as a Dalit saying that there is no proof that his mother V Radhika belonged to "Mala" community.

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Meanwhile, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in a tweet said that Vemula's struggle reminds the people of raising of voice against injustice, tyranny and oppression.

"From 'shadows to the stars', Rohith Vemula's struggle lives on. Reminding us to raise our voice against injustice, tyranny & oppression," Gandhi said in the tweet.

First Published: Mon, October 17 2016. 19:07 IST