Suicide of Rohith vemula, a dalit research scholar in the university of Hyderabad is another tragic incident. He was one of the 5 dalit stundents, all belonging to the Ambedkar student Association(ASA), who has been suspended by the administration. The suicide of the second year PhD student of Life Sciences inside a hostel room sparked protests accross the country and led to an FIR being filed against local BJP MP and union minister Bandaru Dattatreya under the SC/ST Act and on charges of abetment to suicide. Last August, the minister had written to the HRD ministry accusing the university of being “a mute spectator” after a group of Dalit students, including Rohith, clashed with an ABVP leader.
“V Rohit (around 26) was found hanging in the hostel room. He was among the five research scholars who were suspended by Hyderabad Central University (HCU) in August last year and also one of the accused in the case of assault on a student leader,” Cyberabad Police Commissioner C V Anand told PTI.
The entire chain of incidents can be traced back to August 1, when the ABVP disrupted the screening of a documentary on the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots at Delhi University, allegedly for being ‘anti-Hindu’.
“The ASA held a small protest against the disruption on August 3, following which the university’s ABVP president put up a Facebook post which hurt our sentiments, as he called us goons,” one of the suspended students had earlier told TNM.
The ASA students then claim that a small, non-violent confrontation followed, with the ABVP President tendering an apology letter in the presence of security, and everyone is said to have returned.
“This issue took a different shape by the next day morning i.e on 4-8-2015 when the ABVP President along with his brother, who is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), went to a private hospital and started a drama, that he was assaulted by the ASA. During that time, BJP MLC Ramachandra Rao met the Vice-Chancellor along with some of his party cadre and insisted for action against the ‘Dalits’, terming them as ‘anti-national.’ Following this, an enquiry committee was constituted by Professor R.P.Sharma, former Vice-Chancellor under the chairmanship of Professor Alok Pandey,” the ASA alleges in a Facebook post.
The Proctorial Board, the disciplinary authority of the institute, conducted a probe into the incident, but the students claim that the findings of the committee and its final decision were contradictory.
The five students have been suspended ever since.
The ‘suspension’ order allowed them to continue their studies in the university but denied their entry into the hostels, administration building and other common places in groups.
He was active in student politics, but had grown increasingly silent after the disciplinary action was initiated against him by the university. The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of various student groups said Rohith was highly depressed due to suspension and expulsion from the hostel.
Protests, scuffles, ideological debates are part of a healthy democracy. Every day we see hundreds of protests around us by ordinary citizens and political parties. In how many of these cases are protesters expelled, externed, victimised, suspended from work, barred from studying or treated like this.
Hyderabad and Telangana are boiling with rage, and the political heat is rising in Delhi against Dattatreya. The current controversy in Hyderabad is the latest among a series of unfortunate incidents triggered by the BJP’s interference in the academia with the aim of influencing the ideology of intellectuals of the future.
This incident was a suicide but its a murder of social justice, democracy and equality.
The following is the suicide note written by Rohith.
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 coloured. 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 stardust. 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 seven 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.”
To ASA 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.”
If this letter did not make you cry or wake you up…Then I wonder what will?