Hyderabad: The Cyberabad police are investigating the caste origin of PhD scholar Rohith Vemula Chakravarthi, who committed suicide on January 17 in the University of Hyderabad campus raising suspicions whether he was a Dalit or not.
Police investigation at Guntur, Rohith’s hometown has found that both parents of Vemula actually belonged to the stonecutting class of Vadera, which are an Other Backward Class and not Dalit. A top police source said, “We’ve found that neither of Rohith Vemula’s parents belongs to SC|ST community, though they managed to get a certificate in Guntur stating that they belong to the scheduled Mala community. We’re now managed to get the certificate.
The police said certain people—they declined to name them—wanted the caste angle to be explored. The investigation and its finding have a major implication as the case filed as Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Atrocities Act against Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, BJP MLC Ramachandra Rao and University of Hyderabad Vice-Chancellor Appa Rao Podile is likely to collapse if Vemula is not a Dalit.
Vemula’s brother, Raja Chaitanya, told media: “We have a certificate to prove that we belong to the scheduled caste. We are estranged from our father and have nothing to do with him. We are Dalits. We will respond with proof.”
Congress spokesperson Madhu Yashki Goud told that the investigation into the death of Vemula was not being done seriously: “I have no trust in the police investigation in this matter. The state government has not taken the FIR seriously and Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has not even bothered to condole Vemula’s death.”
The police filed the FIR against Dattatreya and the others based on a complaint given by the students at the UoH. “The students refused to let us move Vemula’s body till the FIR was filed and all these people were named under the SC/ST Act. Since it was beginning to turn into a law and order problem, we did it. It is also the law that we make an FIR on complaints filed,” the source said.
“Our investigations indicate that this is false and he belongs to the Vadera caste. So the sections filed against the accused under the SC/ST Act will not hold water,” the source added.