Ph.D student Rohit Vemula of HCU commits suicide

Monday, January 18, 2016

A dalit Ph.D student of Hyderabad Central University has committed suicide in his hostel room.

Rohit Vemula (26), a research scholar of Hyderabad Central University committed suicide on Sunday by hanging himself on a ceiling fan in his hostel today evening. He was suspended from his hostel by the university administration in December last week. Rohit is a native of Guntur and was pursuing his Ph.D in School of life sciences with a CSIR fellowship. In a suicide note that stated he was depressed with his life resulting in taking up the extreme step.

Rohit’s mother Radhika demanded an answer from the Vice-Chancellor over the suicide of his son and demanded that no most-mortem should be done till then. Meanwhile, tension prevailed on the premises of the university by the students obstructing the police to shift the dead body. Hundreds of students staged a dharma with the dead body.

The five Dalit scholars, who were members of the Ambedkar union, had been accused of attacking an activist of the BJP-linked Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad in August, allegedly during a protest against the execution of 1993 Bombay blasts convict Yakub Memon. The university cleared Rohit and others in an initial inquiry, but reversed its decision allegedly after union minister Bandaru Dattatreya wrote to Education Minister Smriti Irani. In December last week, the HCU has barred all these five students from the hostel, mess, libraries and other common areas and have suffered social boycott. Rohit committed suicide allegedly due to social boycott.

Police files case against Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya Hyderabad police today filed a case against Union Minister for State Bandaru Dattatreya under the SC/ST Act and also charged with abetment to suicide of Rohit. Meanwhile, Union HRD Minister Smruti Irani has sent a two member fact finding team to Hyderabad lead by Shakila T Shamsu, OSD in the Ministry and another Deputy Secretary level officer Surat Singh.

Congress and CPI demands resignation:: Since the matter took a political turn, several political parties including the Congress and CPI (M-L) demanded the resignation of both Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and HRD Minister Smruti Irani. She said that the government neither intervenes in the functioning of the university nor does it have any administrative control over it. She said that she would not make any political statement but await the report of the fact finding committee. Meanwhile, HCU vice chancellor Prof.Appa Rao Podile said that he did no wrong in the events leading Rohit’s suicide. He said that the incident leading to the suspension of Rohit and others happened before he became the Vice-Chancellor of the university and he has ensured that the punishment given to them was not harsh. He took the decision to suspend him after it was discussed with professors.

Text of the suicide letter::
Good morning, 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 always wanted to be a writer. A writer of science, like Carl Sagan. 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 every 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. My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past. 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 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, Jai Bheem 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.

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