Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Monday wrote to Radhika Vemula, the mother of Hyderabad University research scholar Rohith Vemula who committed suicide in January, asserting that there was a “vested interest to prove Rohith is not Dalit”.
This was after a major outcry over external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s remark that Rohith was not a Dalit.
However, the CM has not mentioned any names in his letter, reported Economic Times.
"I am aware of the circumstances which must have forced your son to take the extreme step of ending his life. I have learnt a lot about the plight of students belonging to SC, ST and OBC sections at the campus. It is most unfortunate to know that these very vested interests are working hard to disprove the fact that Rohith is not dalit at all. I will not let this happen and I condemn this in very strong words."
Swaraj on Saturday said that Rohith Vemula, the research scholar from the University of Hyderabad (UoH) who committed suicide, was not a Dalit. She added that the controversy over Rohith's caste was "baseless."
"The facts have come out in the case and as per as my knowledge, that student (Rohith) was not a Dalit," she had said in Thane.
Siddaramaiah who is often identified as a leader of minorities, backward classes and Dalits added in his letter that the university campus "which should have a cordial atmosphere for the students to learn and achieve all round, unfortunately has become a place for for unscrupulous elements to achieve their politically motivated, caste based agenda."
Rohith was one of five Dalit scholars at Hyderabad University, who were expelled from their hostel for allegedly attacking an ABVP member. His death has sparked nationwide protests.
Over the last week, the controversy over Rohith’s caste erupted after his grandmother claimed that he belonged to the Vaddera caste, which comes under the OBC section and not Mala - the Dalit community as he claimed.
However, certificates from the Andhra Pradesh revenue department have proved that he belonged to Mala community.