On the 3rd death anniversary of Rohith Vemula, an event in the memory of Dalit scholar was organised at the University of Hyderabad. In last 3 years, this was the first time when Rohith Vemula’s mother Radhika Vemula and brother Raja Vemula were allowed to enter the University campus. The death of the Dalit research scholar had sparked nationwide protest for social justice for backward caste students.

Except for the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the Hyderabad University students acknowledge the day as Rohith Vemula Shahadat Din. The event was organised by the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA), where other students were also present. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi also remembered the Dalit scholar and shared his condolences on Twitter. 

Remembering Rohith, Owaisi said the Dalit scholar was vocal, articulate and a voice for the unity of the oppressed. Asududdin Owaisi said that universities in the country should be less hostile and more inclusive. Rohith Vemula, who allegedly committed suicide three years ago in 2016, was a Dalit scholar at the University of Hyderabad.

Who was Rohith Vemula and why he committed suicide?

Rohith Chakravarti Vemula was a Dalit PhD student and Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA) activist, who wrote the book Caste is Not a Rumour. On 3 August 2015, Rohit opposed the screening of Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai documentary in a college of Delhi University, which was held by ABVP. In response, ABVP’s described 5 ASA activists as goons. After which, Kumar was confronted in hostel room by ASA workers.

After the antagonistic incident, ABVP alleged ASA members of indulging in casteist and anti-national activities and wrote a letter to the Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, which was forwarded to then HRD minister Smriti Irani and later, the university’s Vice-Chancellor P Appa Rao took action against Rohith and 3 other ASA activists and suspended them. After the confirmation of suspension, the dalit research scholer committed suicide on January 17, 2019.