Hyderabad: Around two months after a one-man judicial commission said in its report that Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide early this year, was not a Dalit, a video surfaced on Monday showing the research scholar claiming his Dalit identity.
The old video, shot for a campaign on Facebook, shows the University of Hyderabad (UoH) research scholar as saying: "Jai Bhim to all. My name is Rohith Vemula.”
"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."
According to The Times of India, the nearly two-minute-long video was shot days before Vemula committed suicide at UoH on January 17.
In the video, the research scholar also refers to his expulsion from the university. "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...our presence in public places and our presence in hostel premises and administration building can be treated as criminal acts (sic)," Vemula said.
Vemula, in the video which ends abruptly, says: "In 2012, ABVP has (sic) filed a case against me in Chanda Nagar police station where I was kept in detention for two days."
The daily quoted sources as saying that the footage's authenticity would be examined.
Five Dalit scholars, including Vemula, were expelled following a clash between Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad members and Ambedkar Students Association in August 2015.
The Ministry of Human Resources Development on January 28 had appointed former judge of the Allahabad High Court AK Roopanwal to investigate the circumstances that led to Vemula's suicide.
Media reports had suggested that the commission in its report declared Rohith Vemula as non-Dalit and also exonerated Vice-Chancellor Podile Apparao.
The Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, an umbrella body of students' groups at University of Hyderabad, had condemned the report.