After an 'investigation' that lasted over a year, the DLSC, has also alleged that the certificate was “fraudulently” obtained by Rohith and his mother Radhika Vemula.

Rohith Vemula and his mother not Dalits says Guntur collector asks family for proofImage for representation
news News Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 16:32

The Guntur district administration, which had been deputed by the AP government to investigate the caste-status of University of Hyderabad (UoH) research scholar Rohith Vemula, has stated that he was not a Dalit. Based on a committee's findings, the state government has reportedly decided to 'cancel' Rohith's Scheduled Caste certificate.

After an 'investigation' that lasted over a year, the District-Level Scrutiny Committee (DLSC), has also alleged that the certificate was “fraudulently” obtained by Rohith and his mother Radhika Vemula.

“Based on the DLSC report, we have decided to cancel the Dalit certificate fraudulently obtained by Rohith and his mother and declare them as belonging to OBC community. As part of the procedure, we have served a notice on Radhika to prove her claim of Dalit within 15 days. Otherwise, she and Rohith would be declared as OBCs,” Guntur district collector Kantilal Dande told the Hindustan Times.

The controversy over Rohith's caste first broke out after a certificate of his Raja Vemula stated that he was a ‘Vaddera’, a caste which is categorised as OBC in AP. It was later revealed that Rohith’s father Mani Kumar was a Vaddera, and his mother was a Mala. However, Mani Kumar was an alcoholic who deserted the family once he realised that Radhika was a Dalit, the family claimed. Therefore, Rohith, who never knew his father, claimed his mother's caste, and grew up as a Mala.

The state has also served a show-cause notice to Rohith's family.

Confirming that the family received the notice, Raja Vemula told TNM, "They have threatened to cancel the certificate if we can't 'prove' our caste. It is ridiculous. We are very disheartened and the authorities are putting us through mental torture." 

"We have been talking to lawyers, and plan to respond soon," he added.

Rohith's mother has also alleged that the entire issue was to 'shame' her family and her background. Speaking last month at the gates of the varsity on Rohith's death anniversary, Radhika had narrated her version of incidents that took place at the Guntur Collector's office.

She had alleged that the officials were bent on taking Mani Kumar's side and insistent to prove that Rohith was not a Dalit. A detailed version of what took place at the office can be found here.

Roopanwal Commission

The latest findings are not very different to that of the one-man Commission set up to investigate Rohith's suicide, which stated that Radhika "branded" herself a Dalit to avail the benefits of reservation.

Following a huge political storm, the Roopanwal Commission had been formed by the HRD Ministry to look into the circumstances leading to the death of Vemula.

Claiming that "Rohith faced no discrimination", the report also stated that "Rohith’s suicide was not related to his expulsion".

Calling Rohith's expulsion from the hostel ‘most reasonable’, the report also claimed that it was personal frustration, and not discrimination, that drove him to suicide.

It also absolved BJP MLC Ramachandra Rao, Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani in the case, stating that "they were only discharging their duties".

SC/ST Case

The latest report by the Andhra government would also have a direct impact on a case pending with the Cyberabad police against UoH Vice Chacellor Appa Rao Podile.

A police case was registered at the Gachibowli police station against Bandaru Dattatreya and Appa Rao, under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act after the death of Rohith.

Following that, an FIR was registered, but a chargesheet is yet to be filed. When the police were quizzed over the case making no headway, they had stated that they were yet to receive a reply from the revenue officials of Andhra Pradesh, specifically Guntur, on the caste status of Rohith Vemula.

Now with the report claiming that Rohith was not a Dalit, the entire case against the VC and the Minister could collapse, if the family does not 'prove' Rohith's caste.

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