Following a fresh controversy after the Guntur district administration in Andhra stated that University of Hyderabad (UoH) research scholar Rohith Vemula was not a Dalit, reports suggest that the inquiry went with the 'minority view'.
An investigation by Sudipto Mondal for the Hindustan Times, has revealed that the inquiry by the District-Level Scrutiny Committee (DLSC), received the testimonials of seven people, out of which only two claimed that Rohith was not a Dalit.
The two included Rohith's estranged father Mani Kumar and paternal grandmother Raghavamma.
The DLSC was headed by Guntur district collector Kantilal Dande.
The five people who said that Rohith was a Dalit, include his mother Radhika Vemula, his brother Raja Vemula, his sister Neelima, his paternal grandfather, and his adopted maternal grandmother.
The HT report also suggests that a written statement by local councillor Upalapathy Danamma, who had recommended SC certificates to Radhika and her children, was not even taken into consideration.
It is also important to note that Rohith's father and paternal grandmother 'claimed' him as their own, but did not dispute the fact that Radhika was a Dalit.
When questioned about it, Dande told HT that the primary school where Radhika studied for a brief period, had recorded Anjani Devi as Radhikaâs mother, which was "enough proof," to declare her a non-Dalit.
Last week, the state government decided to 'cancel' Rohith's Scheduled Caste certificate.
The DLSC alleged that the SC certificate was âfraudulentlyâ obtained by Rohith and his mother Radhika Vemula.
The controversy over Rohith's caste first broke out after a certificate of his brother Raja Vemula stated that he was a âVadderaâ, a caste which is categorised as OBC in Andhra.
It was later revealed that Rohithâs 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 also served a show-cause notice to Rohith's family.
Confirming that the family received the notice, Raja Vemula earlier 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.
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.
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.
Also read - 'Rohith was a Dalit': Letter from his grandfather surfaces after Guntur collector's report