New Delhi: An inquiry conducted by the one-man judicial commission has found that 'personal frustration' not discrimination on University of Hyderabad campus drove student Rohith Vemula to commit suicide.
As per the probe, Vemula’s decision to commit suicide was completely his own and not abetted by either the university administration or the government, reported The Indian Express.
The Justice (retd) AK Roopanwal Commission was constituted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development on January 28, 2016, to look into the circumstances leading to the death of the 26-year-old Ph.D scholar.
In the 41-page report submitted in August, the commission found out that Rohith Vemula's mother “branded” herself as Dalit to avail the benefits of reservation.
Another key finding of the commission is that Vemula's mother, V Radhika, claimed to be a Mala (Dalit) to back the caste certificate issued to her son by a person named Uppalapati Danamma, then a corporator, with whom she stayed for one and half years. Radhika's claim that her foster parents told her that her biological parents were SC was “improbable and unbelievable”, said the probe report. It added that Vemula’s caste certificate was issued without any proper inquiry.
“The evidence on record shows that she (Radhika) belongs to Vaddera Community and, therefore, the Scheduled Caste certificate issued to Rohith Vemula cannot be said to be a genuine one and he was not a Scheduled Caste person,” the report stated.
The report dismissed claims of political pressure behind the expulsion of Vemula and his batchmates. It further rejected the possibility that Vemula could have faced discrimination. The report further gave a clean chit to Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani. “Being the public representative, Shri Ramachandra Rao, MLC, took the issue up with the university authorities, Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, Minister of State for Labour and Employment wrote the letter to Smt. Smriti Irani, HRD Minister as the MP of Secunderabad Constituency and the letter written by HRD Minister was just to pursue the matter with the university authorities on the letter of Shri Bandaru Dattatreya.”
The inquiry pointed out that the university’s decision to suspend Vemula and his batchmates from the hostel could not have been the reason for his suicide.
“His suicide note is on the record which shows that Rohith Vemula had his own problems and not happy with the worldly affairs,” the probe report says. “He was feeling frustrated for reasons best known to him. He wrote that there was no urgency for understanding love, pain, life and death but he was rushing after them. It indicates that he was not happy with the activities going around him. He also wrote that he was all alone from childhood and was an unappreciated man…He did not blame anybody for his suicide. If he would have been angry with the decision of the university certainly either he would have written in the specific words or would have indicated in this regard. But he did not do the same. It shows that the circumstances prevailing in the university at that time were not the reasons for committing suicide. The whole reading of the letter shows that he was not feeling well in this world and under frustration ended his life.”
The inquiry did not take into account Vemula’s December 18, 2015, letter written to vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile in which he alleged discrimination. The fact that the suicide happened one month after the letter indicates that the anger “did not continue,” said the commission.
“But I feel that in view of the suicide note the anger shown in this letter cannot be the reason for suicide. It is because of the fact that the suicide was committed after about one month and by this time the expulsion from the hostel had been challenged in the High Court. He did not mention anything in his suicide note which were mentioned in the above-mentioned letter. This shows that if there was any anger that did not continue by the date of suicide otherwise something regarding the anger shown in the letter would have been indicated in the suicide note.”
Former Allahabad High Court judge AK Roopanwal was tasked with the inquiry 11 days after Vemula killed himself in his hostel room.