"Jai bheem to all," he begins.

My name is Rohith Vemula and I am a Dalit Old video of Hyd Uni scholar emerges
news Society Monday, October 17, 2016 - 16:10

“Jai Bheem to all,” he says in the beginning of the video.

In the video which has never been seen before, Rohith Veluma, the Dalit scholar who killed himself following weeks of alleged discrimination by the administration of the University of Hyderabad on January 17, 2016, is seen looking into a camera and narrating the circumstances under which he grew up.

“My name is Rohith Vemula, I am a Dalit and I am from Guntur district,” he says.

He is sitting at the Velivada, the small Dalit enclosure which was created at the campus by the 5 Dalit students including Vemula who were expelled from the hostel in December 2015, which led them to moving out of the hostel in January 4, 2016. “This video must have been taken on January 6 or 7,” says Sunnaki Munna, a student of UoH who has now uploaded the video. He is also a member of the Ambedkar Students' Association which Vemula belonged to.

The video was found my Munna is his computer recently, and it was shot by another student named Prabhakar, who used to work with Rohith of Dalit songs and videos project.

In the 1 minute 50 second video, Vemula says that his disagreements with ABVP were nothing new and they had been on since 2012. “The university has expelled us, and in the circular they mentioned that our presence anywhere in the campus will be seen as a criminal act,” he says.

“I am a son of an agricultural labourer,” he says, pausing to collect his words, and adds, “my mother raised us.  I came to the university to study biotechnology, but I changed to social sciences because of my passion towards society,” he says.

Recently, a one-man committee set up by the Union Ministry of HRD submitted its report on Rohith’s suicide, and the committee reportedly concluded that Rohith Vemula was not a Dalit. The Roopanwal Commission, according to reports, also blamed Rohith for his own suicide and stated that union ministers Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani were only discharging their duties.

According to Rohith's family, while Rohith’s father was from an OBC community, his mother was a Dalit, and the children were raised as Dalits. Rohith was however a General Category students at the university. 

The report however said that Radhika Vemula had branded herself as a Dalit and Rohith who was not a Dalit had faced no discrimination. It further said that Rohith’s suicide was not related to his expulsion and called the expulsion itself ‘most reasonable’. The commission also said that while MLC Ramachandra Rao, Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani were only discharging their duties, personal furstration drove Rohith to commit suicide.

Following the Commission's report, Rohith's brother Raja Vemula released a statement accusing the government of diverting attention away from the truth. Read his statement here. 

Watch the full video here:

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