Radhika Vemula and several activists paid tribute to Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula whose institutional murder in 2016 became a milestone in the history of Dalit and Bahujan resistance in India.
“The only reason my son Rohith is dead is caste. I have understood that we are living at a time when caste is being re-established in all the systems created by Manu through which we are governed and persecuted. The more I understand this, the more I desire to participate in movements across the country,” Ms Radhika Vemula said.
Among those who were present at Rohith’s bust were Ms Fatima Nafis, the mother of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed who went missing in October 2016, Mr Perumalla Balaswamy, the father of P. Pranay, a Dalit Christian youth who was killed by his upper caste wife’s family and the brothers of Dalit students of UoH Pulyala Raju and Madari Venkatesh who had taken their own lives.
The guests and the public who came in solidarity with Justice for Rohith Vemula were allowed inside the campus. The students marched to Velivada at the North Shopping Complex and held the programme there.
Rohith Vemula was an Ambedkar activist and scholar. He had dedicated his life for the liberation of the oppressed and spend every moment of his life working for his goal. Rohit and his fellow student activists were arbitrarily suspended from the central university of Hyderabad following a fake complaint from ABVP activists. The central government, along with the university targeted Rohit and his friends, which forced him to take his own life.
The institutional murder of Rohith Vemula and the role played in his murder by Brahmanical state and other institutions led to nation wide protests in Indian campuses.
Recently, ex-ABVP members in Jawaharlal Nehru University accused the sedition case against Kanayya and other JNU students were the ABVP’s ruse to divert the attention from Rohit’s murder and to suppress the protest.