Vol. XL No. 52 December 25, 2016

Observe Rohith Vemula’s First Anniversary, Appeal Mass Organisations

In a statement issued on December 21, 2016, the Republican Party of India, Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch, Bharatiya Khet Mazdoor Union, All India Agricultural Workers Union, National Coordination Committee on Dalit Rights, Rashtriya Dalit Manav Adhikar Andolan and the All India Dalit Rights Federation have jointly appealed for observing Rohith Vemula’s first anniversary on January 17, 2017. 

One year ago, on January 17, Rohith Vemula who faced caste discrimination and harassment in the University of Hyderabad, killed himself. Condemning this institutional murder, all democratic and social organisations, including many political parties had organised continuous agitations throughout the country.  Despite this, neither the government of  Telangana nor the government of India responded.  Even now the accused, whose names are mentioned in the FIR, are roaming freely. No legal or administrative actions have been taken against them. The main person responsible for this gruesome incident is still continuing as the vice chancellor of the university. Instead of taking any action on the culprits, the HRD ministry is trying to divert the issue by focusing on manipulating the social categories to which Rohith Vemula belongs, which is illegal and unconstitutional. 

On the occasion of Rohith Vemula’s first death anniversary, the organisations have reiterated their demands of arresting the culprits immediately and doing justice for Rohith Vemula’s family. They have appealed all democratic and secular forces to come out and pressurise the government to act immediately. They also requested all democratic and dalit organisations to observe January 17 in memory of Rohith Vemula’s sacrifice for dalit, adivasi and other socially backward students’ rights. They appealed this day be observed as `Dalit Rights Day’. In this context, the organisations have demanded the passage of Rohith Act to protect the rights of socially backward students in all educational institutions.  All the member organisations of the DSMM at state and district levels would organise Rohith Vemula’s memorial meetings throughout the country.