Enquiry Commission Says Rohit Vemula’s Suicide Was Not Due To University Action

The death Rohit Vemula, PHD scholar at the University of Hyderabad, rocked the nation two years ago alleging that university action against him prompted by political interference led to his death on January 17, 2016.

New Delhi: The enquiry commission probing into the suicide of Rohit Vemula on Tuesday confirmed that the PhD scholar at the University of Hyderabad did not commit suicide because of his expulsion from the hostel, and thereby, exonerating the union ministers from the case.

The commission asserted that Rohit’s death was due to personal reasons that he had taken the extreme step, and that the death or action had nothing to do with the university’s act of expelling him from the hostel.

According to reports, the commission made the report public on Independence Day. The report states that Vemula was a troubled individual and was unhappy for several reasons

“His suicide note is on the record which shows that Rohit Vemula had his own problems and was not happy with worldly affairs,” Inquiry commission report by the one-man judicial commission under former Allahabad High Court Judge AK Roopanwal stated.

“He was frustrated for the reasons best known to him…He also wrote that he was all alone from childhood and was an unappreciated man. This also indicates his frustration. He did not blame anybody for his suicide,” it added.

The report also suggested that the then HRD Minister Smriti Irani and another Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya were not responsible for the happening.  

After Vemula’s death, there were allegations about political interference and reports immediately after his death indicating that Vemula’s death was the result of disciplinary action against him prompted by BJP leaders.

 The report stated, “If he would have been angry with the decision of the university, certainly either he would have written in specific words or would have indicated in this regard. But he did not do the same. It shows that the circumstances prevailing in the university at that time were not the reasons for committing the suicide.”

The commission also clarified that Vemula was not a Dalit by caste. The case assumed importance due to this, leading to protests by student groups thus causing disruptions at the university.  They alleged that Vemula was a victim of discrimination by the BJP leaders.

Meanwhile, the report pointed out the fact that university does not have a strong mechanism to redress students’ grievances, especially in the case of scholars belonging to reserved categories.

Expressing its views on disciplinary action taken in the case of Vemula; Justice Roopanwal’s report stated: “In my opinion, the view taken by the Executive Council was the most reasonable one in the circumstances prevailing at that time. The Executive Council mainly focused that the students should keep concentration on their academic career and not on other things. The leniency shown by the Executive Council itself shows that the university administration was not functioning under any influence or pressure, otherwise, there could be no occasion to be lenient or to reduce the punishment recommended by the Proctorial Board.”

Meanwhile, Vemula’s family responding to the report on Wednesday said that injustice was being meted out to them.

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