This is the full text of the statement by Rohith Vemula's mother, Radhika Vemula, in response to the Roopanwaala Committee report. The following post is as released by the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice (UoH) and has not been editied.
Jai Bheem Everyone,
First of all I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the people of Uttar Pradesh for standing with me on the struggle seeking Justice for Rohith Vemula.
In particular I would like to appreciate the spirit of students and youth who stood in the forefront in support of me and Justice for Rohith Vemula. You all have stood with me in the utmost difficult times, the times during which I lost my son, whom I had groomed for 25 years on my own.
BJP led centre and its ministers had targetted students of Ambedkar Students Association including my son, who were talking about Ambedkar and propagating his ideas. They have victimized them on socio-political lines and drove my son to commit suicide.
After death of my son, now I am targetted because I am talking against the atrocities committed by BJP led centre, I have challenged the system of caste by embracing Buddhism, I am declaring solidarities with struggling dalits across the country. Recently, one commission, namely Justice Ashok Kumar Roopanwala commission, had directly maligned me, by adding salt to the pain.
On numerous accounts, I had revealed that I am a Dalit, and that I faced discrimination even in the household that I was adopted in to, and from the hands of my husband on account of caste, I had deposed myself before District Magistrate, along with late Banala Anjani Devi (who also was tortured by the BJP in the name of caste) who adopted me from Dalit family.
Even after the magistrateâs certification of my sonâs caste as Scheduled Caste, and further re-affirmation of the same by P.L.Punia, Chairman, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, Justice Ashok Kumar Roopanwala, branded me as non-dalit and dubbed me as one who faked my caste identity to attain benefits under scheduled caste category.
I know what my identity when I was called by my caste name within my adopted household, I along with my son suffered humiliation within the household which adopted me, I know how much struggle, I had to undergo when I had parted my ways with my husband who humiliated and manhandled me when he learnt about my caste identity.
The pain of being oppressed would only be understood by a fellow oppressed but not by oppressor. Thus it became easy for Ashok Kumar Roopanwal and BJP leaders, who belong to the class of oppressor, to comment on my caste and my sonâs caste to save their ministers and their henchman Podile Apparao from Prevention of SC/ST Atrocities Act.
First they have socio-politically victimized my son and forced him to commit suicide, now they started their target towards me, and other students who are fighting for Justice for Rohith Vemula. Even at this juncture I have only one hope left in me, that is the support of my dalit brothers and sisters and elders.
If there was no courageous display of self-respect and commitment in the struggle seeking justice for Rohith Vemula, the movement would have ended long ago. The students of Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar University (BBRAU) from Ambedkar University Dalit Students Union (AUDSU) have not even spared the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is because of the resistance from students that forced Modi to say that âthe nation has lost its sonâ, though his own cabinet colleagues branded my son as anti-national and casteist for asserting the thoughts of Babasaheb Dr.B.R.Ambedkar.
But today, the students of the same university from Ambedkar University Dalit Students Union are punished, without proper enquiry, as happened in the case of Five Dalit Research Scholars including Rohith Vemula belonging to Ambedkar Students Association at University of Hyderabad.
Having lost my son, no mother should suffer the pain as I suffered, thus today I came here to Lucknow, to stand in support of those students who are thrown out of their hostels and rusticated without any enquiry.
I hope that the people of UP will not only avenge the death of my son, but also send a message to those who destroyed Ambedkar Bhavan in Mumbai, send a message to those who chained our brothers in Una and beat them in public, send a message against those who have beaten my Dalit brothers in Udupi, and all those millions of oppressed sections oppressed by this heinous caste system.
Whatever we have been suffering other minorities also have been suffering, but as ambedkarites and followers of ambedkarite ideology, only we have the power to uproot these casteist and oppressive governments. We are most powerful in Uttar Pradesh as compared to other states, where dalits, led a battle for all, hence let a strong message against atrocities perpetrated by present Central Government be sent from the state of Uttar Pradesh itself.
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