Inquiry panel report that says Rohith Vemula was not Dalit ‘totally wrong’, says NCSC chief PL Punia

Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes PL Punia said the Centre’s inquiry panel’s report which concluded that Rohith Vemula did not belong to the Scheduled Caste community was “totally wrong”. He reiterated that the NCSC and the district collector had both found in separate reports that the University of Hyderabad scholar was a member of the Dalit community, not the Other Backward Class, PTI reported on Thursday.

Punia, who is an Indian National Congress leader, said on Wednesday, “The issues raised by the Congress were sidelined, and now the report is being presented that Vemula was not a Dalit.” He also alleged that the one-member panel, comprising former Allahabad High Court judge Ashok Kumar Roopanwal, was set up by the Human Resource Development Ministry to merely justify the Bharatiya Janata Party’s stand since Vemula committed suicide that he was not Dalit.

The Roopanwal Commission had also exonerated the university’s Vice Chancellor Appa Rao Podile and other authorities implicated in the case. Podile had come under fire after Vemula’s suicide for allegedly suspending him from the institute because of his caste. While he had taken a two-month sabbatical from the varsity following the incident, the government had earlier said he would not be transferred.

The NCSC had earlier concluded that Vemula was a Dalit and suggested that his family be granted benefits such as a house, employment and monetary assistance.

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