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Rohith Vemula’s ‘Dalitness’

The answer to a situation where institutions that at least maintained a facade of democracy are being destroyed and any dissenting opinion is being targeted, can come from students who oppose such moves. Perhaps, it is such students who will ensure justice for Rohith Vemula. 

Rohith Vemula, the Dalit research scholar from Hyderabad University, who has become the face of students’ resistance all over the country was driven to commit suicide allegedly due to the acts of Appa Rao Podile, the controversial vice chancellor of the university backed by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dispensation. It was definitely an institutional murder but not without a face. A massive agitation broke out demanding justice for Rohith and a spate of meetings were addressed by all shades of political leaders, except those from the BJP. A joint action committee (JAC) for justice to Rohith was born and a number of campuses around the country took up its call. In the heat of the agitation, Appa Rao had disappeared from the scene and while the demands of the JAC, particularly for the dismissal and arrest of Appa Rao—the prime accused in the case—were pending, the campus had attained normalcy. On 22 March this year, Appa Rao returned to office and began a new saga of atrocities.

Fact-finding by the IPT

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