A fresh inquiry into the caste status of Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide in the University of Hyderabad campus on January 17, may be conducted afresh, according to a report in The Times of India.
Guntur district collector Kantilal Dande told the newspaper that the caste status of the research scholar is shrouded in “ambiguity” and needs to be probed afresh.
Dande, whose office had earlier stated that Vemula was a Dalit, said the two earlier reports, the first by Guntur urban mandal revenue officer, and the second by Gurjala mandal revenue officer, gave him different accounts.
There two reports have conflicting claims as Guntur report said he was a Dalit, the Gurjala one said he was from a backward class, he said. The UGC too has sought a report from the Tahsildar, Guntur, on the issue.
A clear establishment of Rohith’s caste status is important because Dalit activists have charged that Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya and University of Hyderabad vice-chancellor Appa Rao guilty under the SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act for abetting Rohith’s suicide.