Lucknow: The Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribe commission chairman PL Punia on Sunday dismissed the recent claims made by Union Minister Sushma Swaraj and said that PhD scholar Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide in Hyderabad in January this year, was a Dalit.
"He was a member of the Scheduled Caste. Some people are only trying to water down the issue. Rohith and his siblings were brought up by a single mother, so how can any law determine his caste by that of his father who had left the family years ago," Punia reportedly said while talking to reporters.
Punia had visited Hyderabad University a day after Rohith committed suicide. According to Punia, Rohith's mother was a Dalit and thus, by law, Rohith and his other siblings were also Dalits.
Punia had also claimed that he has asked the authorities of Hyderabad University to ensure action against those guilty in Vemula's death.
Rohith Vemula committed suicide at Hyderabad Central University on January 17. He along with four other Dalit scholars were suspended by Hyderabad University for allegedly involving in a clash with a ABVP leader.
Hyderabad University vice-chancellor, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and HRD Minister Smriti Irani have been named as accused in the case.