New Delhi: A panel set up by the Human Resource Development Ministry to probe the suicide of Hyderabad Central University student Rohit Vemula has found that the 26-year-old research scholar was not a Dalit.

The report was submitted by the former judge of Allahabad High Court A K Roopanwala, who was appointed by the then HRD minster Smriti Irani.

The report was submitted to the University Grants Commission (UGC) in the first week of August and it says Rohit Vemula was not a Dalit.

Earlier, Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj and Thaawarchand Gehlot had questioned the identity of the student’s caste. Both Swaraj and Gehlot had said that Rohit belonged to the Vaddera community, which falls under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category.

Rohit Vemula’s brother Raja, however, rejected the panel’s observation.  “We lived like Dalits. We were raised in a Dalit community. Yes, my father was from a backward class, but whatever we know is from our experience of living like a Dalit. We have been discriminated against all our lives. Rohith referred to this in his letter too.”

Rohit Vemula had committed suicide at the Hyderabad Central University on January 17, this year.