Hyderabad: The suicide of Rohith Vemula, a PhD scholar at the Hyderabad Central University (HCU), has triggered a national debate on how authorities should deal with student politics.
Amid all this, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) student leader who emerged as a key character in the entire episode has spoken out.
Susheel Kumar, an HCU student leader, has expressed shock over the death of Rohith.
Speaking to The News Minute, Susheel said the news of Rohith's suicide made him numb.
The trigger for Rohith's suicide can be traced back to an altercation with Susheel way back in August.
Apart from Rohith, four more Dalit scholars - associated with Ambedkar Students Association (ASU) - were involved in the altercation with Susheel.
The trigger for the altercation was a protest by the five Dalit scholars and others against 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon's hanging.
In a Facebook post, Susheel had called Rohith and other ASU members ‘goons’ for organising protest. There were claims that ASU students had attacked Susheel even though he had apologised for the Facebook post. Rohith and others had, however, denied resorting to violence.
Following a complaint and probe, the five Dalit scholars were suspended from the university and expelled from the hostel. The university suspension was later revoked.
Susheel told The News Minute that he never imagined this would happen.
“I have known him for almost five years. We were ideologically different, but he was brave. He would rip apart posters we placed in campus, he was at the forefront of their agitations. I never imagined this would happen. Never,” Susheel told The News Minute.
“This was just student politics. I have engaged in many conversations with Rohith, though we always disagreed. I stopped speaking to them after August 2015,” he added.
On the issue of seeking Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya's intervention, Susheel said he did ask for help but it was all done in the heat of the moment.
“No one would have thought that a person like Rohith would commit suicide,” he said.