Telangana Police Close Rohith VemulaDeath Case, Absolve Accused

Telangana police file closure report in Rohith Vemula case, absolving all accused, including university officials and politicians, of wrongdoing. Vemula's family plans to appeal, disputing the report's claim that he was not a Dalit and died by suicide due to fear of exposure.

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Rafia Tasleem
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Telangana Police Close Rohith VemulaDeath Case, Absolve Accused

Telangana Police Close Rohith VemulaDeath Case, Absolve Accused

The Telangana police have filed a closure report in the case of Rohith Vemula, a University of Hyderabad PhD scholar who died by suicide in January 2016. The report, submitted eight years after the incident, absolves all accused, including then Vice-Chancellor Appa Rao Podile, BJP leaders Bandaru Dattatreya and N Ramachander Rao, and Union Minister Smriti Irani, of any wrongdoing.

Why this matters: The Rohith Vemula case has been a rallying cry for Dalit rights and anti-caste discrimination movements in India, and the closure report's findings have significant implications for the ongoing struggle for social justice. The case's outcome may also influence the political narrative around caste-based discrimination and its handling by the government.

The police investigation concludes that Vemula was not a Dalit and died by suicide out of fear that his true caste identity would be exposed. The report claims that Vemula's caste certificates were forged and that he did not belong to the Scheduled Caste category. It suggests that Vemula's mother had helped him obtain an SC certificate and that Vemula was aware of this.

According to the closure report, "The deceased had multiple issues worrying him which could have driven him to commit suicide." It further states, "Despite best efforts, no evidence could be found to establish that the actions of the accused have driven the deceased to commit suicide."

Vemula's family has expressed doubts about the investigation and plans to appeal the closure report. Rohith's brother Raja Vemula termed the claim that Rohith was not a Dalit as "absurd" and said they were shocked and disappointed by the report. "The police report deviates from what actually happened. Instead of investigating whether Rohith committed suicide because of provocation by the University Vice Chancellor and the BJP, they investigated the caste state of the deceased," said A Satya Prasad, senior advocate for the Vemula family.

Rohith Vemula's death in 2016 had sparked nationwide protests over discrimination against Dalits in universities. The case became a massive political controversy, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi taking on the central government in Parliament. Then Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani had slammed alleged attempts to project it as a caste battle.

The closure report will be submitted to the Telangana High Court on May 3, just 10 days before the state goes to polls in the Lok Sabha elections. Neither the Telangana Congress nor the Central leadership has responded to the closure report so far. The family plans to meet with Telangana Chief Minister Revanth Reddy on May 4 to seek his intervention in reopening the case.

Key Takeaways

  • Telangana police file closure report in Rohith Vemula case, absolving all accused of wrongdoing.
  • Report claims Vemula was not a Dalit, died by suicide due to fear of caste identity exposure.
  • Vemula's family rejects report, plans to appeal, calling claim of non-Dalit status "absurd".
  • Case had sparked nationwide protests over Dalit discrimination, became major political controversy.
  • Family to meet Telangana CM to seek intervention in reopening the case.