Rohit vemula, pursuing his PhD in Social Studies from Hyderabad University, was found hanging inside the hostel room. He was among the five other research scholars who were suspended by Hyderabad Central University (HCU) under the pressure of the right wing group on a false allegation of attacking an ABVP leader.
Since the expulsion, the five were on a ‘sleep-in’ strike in the open on campus. They were supported by ten other student organizations including Students Federation of India, Ambedkar Students Association and Dalit Students Union among others. On Sunday students from each of the outfits had started a relay hunger strike demanding to take back the students. On January 13, the protesters laid siege to the administrative building asking the university to prevent the social boycott of students.
Five students including Rohit were restricted their entry into hostels, administration building and other common places in groups and denial of permission to participate in students union elections. The formal reason among other thing is that they have opposed the death sentence of Yakub Memon. The decision was an outcome political pressure by BJP Union Minister for Labour Bandaru Dattatreya and BJP MLC Ramachandra Rao.
The suicide of Rohit Vemula is sparking nation wide protests. Group of students sat with Rohit’s body all the night, demanding the removal of Vice Chancellor. The police action of forcefully taking Rohit’s body for postmortem and arresting eight student intensified the protest.
The students of Jawaharlal Nehru University argued that the death is a result of political vindictiveness by the ABVP. The suicidal note of Rohit Vemula, blaming no one for his death, is widely circulating in the social media. The text is as follows:
I would not be around when you read this letter. Don’t get angry on me. I know some of you truly cared for me, loved me and treated me very well. I have no complaints on anyone. It was always with myself I had problems. I feel a growing gap between my soul and my body. And I have become a monster. I always wanted to be a writer. A writer of science, like Carl Sagan. At last, this is the only letter I am getting to write.
I loved Science, Stars, Nature, but then I loved people without knowing that people have long since divorced from nature. Our feelings are second handed. Our love is constructed. Our beliefs colored. Our originality valid through artificial art. It has become truly difficult to love without getting hurt.
The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of star dust. In very field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living.
I am writing this kind of letter for the first time. My first time of a final letter. Forgive me if I fail to make sense.
May be I was wrong, all the while, in understanding world. In understanding love, pain, life, death. There was no urgency. But I always was rushing. Desperate to start a life. All the while, some people, for them, life itself is curse. My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.
I am not hurt at this moment. I am not sad. I am just empty. Unconcerned about myself. That’s pathetic. And that’s why I am doing this.
People may dub me as a coward. And selfish, or stupid once I am gone. I am not bothered about what I am called. I don’t believe in after-death stories, ghosts, or spirits. If there is anything at all I believe, I believe that I can travel to the stars. And know about the other worlds.
If you, who is reading this letter can do anything for me, I have to get 7 months of my fellowship, one lakh and seventy five thousand rupees. Please see to it that my family is paid that. I have to give some 40 thousand to Ramji. He never asked them back. But please pay that to him from that.
Let my funeral be silent and smooth. Behave like I just appeared and gone. Do not shed tears for me. Know that I am happy dead than being alive.
‘From shadows to the stars.’
Uma anna, sorry for using your room for this thing.
To ASA [Ambedkar Students Association] family, sorry for disappointing all of you. You loved me very much. I wish all the very best for the future.
For one last time,
I forgot to write the formalities. No one is responsible for my this act of killing myself.
No one has instigated me, whether by their acts or by their words to this act.
This is my decision and I am the only one responsible for this.
Do not trouble my friends and enemies on this after I am gone”
Social media is outraging against these institutional murder sponsered by BJP
Kill a cow and you will be lynched. Kill a dalit and no one cares. Who knows, you might be rewarded too! #BJPkilledDalitScholar
— VAISHALI SINGH (@vaishaliishere) January 18, 2016
At behest of ABVP, BJP wrote letter to HRD minister to crack down on Dalit students, calling them anti national! #BJPKilledDalitScholar
— SpeakOut (@akdwaaz) January 18, 2016
In a letter wrote to the University administration, Rohit said that University should provide poison to dalit students since they are facing discrimination.
— निलेश ठाकरे (@perfect_nilesh) January 18, 2016