New Delhi: Another Union Minister Wednesday claimed that Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide at Hyderabad University, was not a Dalit and parties should stop politicising his death for their own gains.
"There is no question of this being a Dalit versus non-Dalit issue as Rohith and his family are an OBC. They belong to the Vaddera caste. Now it is being said that his mother is a Dalit which is correct," Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot said.
"But Rohith was born in 1990 and as per the facts that have emerged from the investigations, Rohith got his certificate made in July 2014 which states that he is a Dalit. So, the certificate was made after almost 25 years and he was living with his father till then," he said.
"So, the question here is why didn't he get a certificate made before that and why he got a certificate made now?" he alleged.
Earlier, Union ministers Sushma Swaraj and Jual Oram had claimed that Vemula was not a Dalit.
Gehlot alleged that Congress and other parties were politicising Rohith's suicide for "their own gains".
"Before Rohith's suicide, nine more students committed suicide on the same campus. Why didn't those become a big issue?
"All these political leaders - Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal and others - who are rushing to Hyderabad after Rohith's suicide, I want to ask them where were they when nine other students from the University committed suicide and those had happened during UPA's rule," he said.
Gehlot charged that Rohith and the organisation he was associated with were involved in "anti-national" activities and had condemned the execution of Yakub Memon who was involved in 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts.
"ABVP (BJP's students wing) objected to their activities, following which 30-40 boys had roughened up Sushil Kumar. Later, five students, including Rohith, were expelled," he said.
"We will ensure they get justice," the minister said.
Gehlot said that "a judicial inquiry has been initiated by the government into his death and whoever is found guilty will be punished."
He said that it was sad that efforts were being made to give his suicide a caste angle and disturb country's atmosphere.
Rohith's family members have refused to accept an ex-gratia amount of Rs 8 lakh and the government will ensure that they get justice, he said.
Gehlot today presented the Dr Ambedkar National Merit Awards to the meritorious students of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe students of Secondary and Senior Secondary School Examinations of year 2015.