Monday, May 27, 2024

Rohith Vemula case: As students and family protested dubious closure report, CM, DJP promise reinvestigation

Photo: Hathim Ashir

Protest erupted at the University of Hyderabad, after the Telangana Police closed the investigation in Rohith Vemula’s death with a report absolving then Secunderabad MP Bandaru Dattatreya, Member of Legislative Council N Ramachander Rao, Vice Chancellor Appa Rao, ABVP leaders, and Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani.

A joint protest gathering was organised at the main entrance of the University. Various student organisations joined the gathering. Students chanted slogans against the Telangana government, police, and the BJP-led Union government.

Telangana police closed the case file concluding Rohith wasn’t a Dalit and he committed suicide because of his fear of discovery of the same and its impact on his academics. The Report absolved the former VC and the BJP Leaders.

Speakers from each organisation addressed the protesting students.

Photo: Hathim Ashir

The Students’ Union General Secretary Deepak Kumar Arya stated: “What we’ve read in the report is the investigation of the past of Rohith Vemula, where the investigating officers have gone three generations back to find out which cast he belonged to, whether he was a Dalit or was from any backward class.”

“The invisible force of Savarna, who made much of the people of our nation oppressed and marginalized, is still dominating the country. They killed millions of people in our country, killed thousands of students in our universities including Rohith. Today, they murdered him again,” Muhammed Vaseem, a master’s student, and representative of the Muslim Students Federation (MSF) said while addressing the gathering. 

Gnaneshwar from ASA (Ambedkar Students Association) and a research scholar at the University told Maktoob when asked about the future legal proceedings, “ASA has been taking the responsibility of the legal procedures and has a coordination committee with the affected students, faculties, and legal counsel. The protests and other decisions are coordinated and taken by the Justice for Rohith Vemula Coalition on the campus.”

Abdus Salam, University Organiser of the Student Islamic Organisation (SIO) told Maktoob, “We have sat in solidarity with Rohit in the Velivada and we have been standing in solidarity ever since.” He added, “This fight is against the Hindutva ideology that has been rotting within our society.”

A Joint Statement was released by various student organisations including, AIOBCSA, AISA, BSF, DSU, FRATERNITY, MSF, NSUI, SFI, SIO, and TSF along with the Students’ Union.

“The police report is, unfortunately, an exact reiteration of the BJP-ABVP narrative around Rohith’s institutional murder. The police report from page one is keen on portraying Rohith and his friends as ‘unruly’ mobs prone to violent tendencies,” read the statement. 

The statement also appealed to the newly elected Congress government in Telangana for a fair and unbiased investigation and demanded action against the previous investigation officers. 

Following massive outrage, Chief Minister Revanth Reddy called a closed-door meeting with Rohith’s family and University of Hyderabad students and assured that the closure report will be rendered invalid.

Meanwhile, a release from the DGP’s office said that a fresh investigation will be conducted in the case.

“The investigating officer in the case was ACP Madhapur, and the final report was prepared in November 2023. It was officially filed in jurisdictional court on March 21, this year. As some doubts have been raised, further investigation will be taken up. A petition will be filed in the court concerned requesting the magistrate to permit the probe,” the statement said.

Hathim Ashir is a mass communication student at the University of Hyderabad.

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