An investigation panel set up by the Human Resource Development Ministry has said that Rohith Vemula was not a member of a Scheduled Caste. The Hyderabad University scholar committed suicide over alleged caste-based discrimination at the institution, and his death had sparked outrage among the students for several months.
According to a Hindustan Times report, the one-man panel, consisting of former Allahabad High Court judge Ashok Kumar Roopanwal, also exonerated the university’s vice chancellor and other authorities. Appa Rao Podile had come under fire after Vemula’s suicide for allegedly suspending Vemula from the university because of his caste, and had taken a two-month sabbatical from the varsity following the incident. However, the government had earlier said he would not be transferred.
Roopanwal’s report comes soon after the National Commission for Scheduled Castes said Vemula was a Dalit, and added that his family was eligible for benefits such as a house, employment and monetary assistance.