HYDERABAD/GUNTUR/NEW DELHI:In a new twist to the suicide case of PhD scholar Rohith Vemula at the University of Hyderabad, the Telangana state police has said that Rohith was not a Dalit and that he belonged to Vaddera caste which falls under the BC category.
Though television channels went to town saying that the Telangana state police had submitted the same to the Hyderabad High court, senior police officials denied it and clarified that it was a “confidential report” from Madhapur ACP M Ramana Kumar to the Government Pleader (GP) for Home department.
Two weeks after Rohith’s death, the Madhapur ACP wrote to the GP about the investigation so far wherein he mentioned that Rohith Vemula belonged to Vaddera caste which falls under the BC category and not SC and that this was based on the statements given by village tahsildar, family members etc.
The investigation officer M Ramana Kumar, assistant commissioner of police, Madhapur, has stated that the recorded statements of Rohith’s father Vemula Naga Mani Kumar and paternal grandparents Vemula Raghavamma and Venkateshwarlu from Gurazala have confirmed that the deceased belonged to Vaddera caste. The Sarpanch of the village, Mahankali Seethamma, also corroborated the same, states the report, a copy of which is with Express.
The caste certificates provided by tahsildar GVS Phaneendra Babu, Gurazala mandal, dated January 19, two days after Rohith’s suicide, also read that Vemula Rohith Chakravarthy belonged to Vaddera community. According to the investigation officer, the caste details of the deceased were missing from school records.
In his Intermediate and college records, it was entered as Mala, which comes under SC category.
The IO also informed that the statement of Banala Dhanalakshmi, who is married to Rohith’s mother’s brother Banala Giridhar Kumar, said they belonged to Vaddera caste.
The tahsildar too, according to the IO, certified that Vemula Radhika and her two brothers are Vaddera.
However, students of UoH produced a digitally certified document procured from AP government’s Mee Seva centre, dated June 16, 2015, that stated Vemula Rohith Chakrvarthi belonged to Mala (SC) community.
On Jan 23, Rohith’s mother Radhika had issued a statement that she was informally adopted by a Vaddera (BC) family while her parents belonged to Mala (SC) community.
“I got married to my divorced husband in 1985 and after giving birth to my last child, I separated from him. I kept all three children with me and lived in SC Mala locality,” she had issued a clarification.
“This was a confidential document sent by the ACP to the GP and this was not submitted before the court. It was to apprise the HC about investigation whenever the court would seek to know.
The final report in the case will be submitted to the court, after completion of the investigation,” a senior police official said.
In fact, he said that contrary to the statement of Union minister Smriti Irani that the police were not allowed into the campus and that no doctor was present soon after Rohith committed suicide, the official said that the police officials rushed to the university, found the room open and saw the body while a doctor was also present.
‘Never verified Rohith’s Caste’
When Express contacted Guntur mandal revenue officials, who had issued an SC caste certificate to Rohith, they maintained that there were no documents certifying Rohith belonged to Scheduled Caste.
It was in the year 2004, Rohith had first applied for the caste certificate and was issued the same. Since then, the same had been renewed every year. In June 2015, Rohit got a permanent caste certificate after applying through Mee Seva and the officials sanctioned SC certificate based on old ertificate.
According to them, no documents or declarations were submitted by Rohith’s family members when they applied for caste certificate for the first time in 2004.
Based on this certificate issued, officials kept on renewing the caste certificate for him every year. “There was never a thought of verifying as there was no such need,” said officials.
Meanwhile, revenue officials of Gurazala mandal, the native place of Rohith, clarified that they do not have any records regarding the caste of Rohith Vemula as his family had migrated to Guntur city several years ago.
However, the officials added Rohith Vemula’s younger brother had applied for a belated birth certificate in 2014 and in the declaration form the parents mentioned ‘Vaddera’ as the caste.