The Guntur district authorities recently have reportedly refused to give information under the RTI Act to a query on Rohith Vemula’s caste.
This comes a month after the Andhra government stated that University of Hyderabad (UoH) research scholar Rohith Vemula was not a Dalit.
According to a recent report by Times of India, the Guntur district authorities said that the information could not be shared, citing the reason that it would hurt the investigation procedure.
A superintendent officer in the Collectorate refused to give information under section 8 (1) (h) of the RTI Act, the ToI report said.
In the RTI query, it was asked whether the district revenue authority or office of Collectorate submitted a report to the Cyberabad police on Rohith's caste.
“In case the report is already submitted to the inquiry officer, furnish a copy of the report,” the petition was quoted in TOI.
The RTI query was also seeking the reasons for the delay by the district revenue authorities in submitting the report on Vemula’s caste. However, the district officials replied saying the questions do not fall under the RTI Act.
“How can section (1) (h) apply to questions on whether a report was submitted or reasons in case a report was not submitted to the investigating officer? This is just misinterpretation,“ C J Karira, a RTI activist told Srinath Vudali of TOI.
Rohith Vemula had committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling of a hostel room in the university on January 17, 2016.
The incident triggered a nation-wide protest over caste discrimination in universities.
The controversy over Rohith's caste first came to light after Rohith’s brother, Raja Vemula’s certificate stated that he was a ‘Vaddera’, a caste which is categorised as OBC in AP.
Later it was revealed that Rohith’s father Mani Kumar was a Vaddera, and his mother was a Mala.
However, the family claimed that Mani Kumar was an alcoholic who deserted the family once he realised that Radhika was a Dalit. After this, Rohith, claimed his mother's caste, and grew up as a Mala.
However, after a yearlong investigation, the District-Level Scrutiny Committee (DLSC) alleged that the certificate was “fraudulently” obtained by Rohith and his mother Radhika Vemula.