Kancha Ilaiah at Hyderabad University: Rohith Vemula committed a purposeful suicide

Several Dalit activists spoke on the second death anniversary of Rohith Vemula, organised at University of Hyderabad on January 17.

The 25-year-old PhD student had killed himself in the campus of Hyderabad Central University after getting expelled allegedly on the grounds of social discrimination.

The dignitaries to speak at the event included Prof Kancha Ilaiah and Prof Sujatha Surepally. The University had last year turned down the request for marking ‘Shahadath Din’, however, this time the event could take place.

Prof Sujatha, a Dalit activist, who has been getting threats for standing for Dalit rights and other marginalized groups addressed the gathering in the University.

The activist said that she was upset over speaking about Rohith and was concerned over the current scenario when educational institutes are getting chosen by discriminating elements.

Dr Sujatha also recalled Murli who had allegedly committed suicide in the campus of Osmania University for not getting a job.

“Rohith had become a symbol across the universities to institutionalise the question of discrimination on the campuses. He was fighting with the Hindu racism,” the prof said. Adding that the casteism and nationalism are killing us.

Dr Sujatha further said, “It is our duty to democratize the campuses.” She said that campuses should be spared from scrutiny and they should not have surveillance cameras.

Another renowned Dalit activist and a prolific writer, Prof Kancha Ilaiah also spoke at the event and said: “Rohith had committed a purposeful suicide, while other students also committed suicides but Rohith’s was a philosophical one, this idea was very clear from his suicide note.”

Ilaiah said that he does not know how many people had Rohith inspired, “at the age of 65 I got inspired,” he added.

Rohith Vemula taught us nationalism from production, equality, humanity and Dalit Bahujan point of view, the prof added.