A new video of Rohith Vemula surfaced online on Monday where he is seen saying, "I am Rohith Vemula...I'm a Dalit from Guntur district." The video was reportedly released by Vemula's friends in response to the Roopanwal committee's report.
The Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula hanged himself at the Hyderabad Central University on January 17 this year. Soon after his death, the Human Resources and Development (HRD) Ministry had constituted a committee led by Justice (retd.) A K Roopanwal to look into the circumstances that led to the Dalit scholar's death. The committee had submitted a report saying, that the 26-year-old research scholar was not Dalit and did not belong to the Scheduled Caste (SC) community, according to Indian Express.
Ever since Vemula's death, the police and HRD ministry have been questioning Vemula's caste. In the one minute, 50 seconds video shot days before Vemula's death, he is seen asserting that he is indeed a Dalit.
In the video, which was shot for a Facebook campaign, Vemula is heard saying, "Jai Bheem to all. My name is Rohith Vemula. I come from Guntur. I am a Dalit coming from Guntur district. I have been a student of University of Hyderabad since 2010. Now I am doing PhD in social science department."
Vemula also recounted his expulsion from the University along with four other Dalit fellows. "Recently, the university has taken a decision to suspend five Dalit students and they have expelled us from the hostel premises. They have said that the notice which we got served says that our presence in public places and our presence in hostel premises and administration building can be treated as criminal acts," Vemula said in the video.
Vemula's friends are hoping that the video released by them will be witnessed as a major proof in the ongoing investigations into his death.
"The investigating authorities must consider the video as a major proof with Rohith himself declaring that he is indeed a Dalit. The police has not acted upon the SC/ST Atrocities Act for months now. In this context, they must proceed and take action against those accused in Rohith's suicide case," Vemula's friend, Prashanth Dontha was quoted as saying by TOI.