Deceased dalit scholar’s family rejects ex-gratia money, slams Modi and Irani


The family members of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide in a hostel room, on Saturday rejected the ex-gratia offered to them.

They also slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani, for taking ‘five days to respond.’

Vemula’s mother Radhika, sister Neelima and brother Raju, who visited the campus, demanded that “those responsible for his death” be brought to book.

“Not Rs eight lakh, we don’t want even if you give Rs eight crore…from HCU where he died,” Neelima was quoted by PTI.

The University of Hyderabad on Friday had announced an ex-gratia of Rs 8 lakh Rohith’s family.

Neelima said, “Smriti Irani…she called up after five days. Why it took five days? You are also a woman…you are also a mother…it took five days (to call up the family and condole the death). I want to know why he died. You killed or he died? Why was he suspended? Those responsible should be arrested and punished. That’s the only thing I want.”

Raju, for his part said, “The Prime Minister says he (Rohith) was a son of Mother India. I am not big enough to talk about him (PM) …Why he did not speak for five days?”

Rohith’s sister Neelima too asked the reasons for her brother’s death.

She said, “We want to know the reasons behind Rohith’s death. It’s not a suicide. His is not timid. He was prompted to commit suicide. Those responsible for that murder should be given punishment…first is Shusheel Kumar, second is the VC.”

Irani had first tried to play down the significance of Rohith’s death by calling it an issue involving two non-dalits group. She had also drawn flak for despatching four letters to the University administration ‘forcing’ them to expel Rohith and four other dalit students, a decision that prompted the scholar to end his life.

In the face of growing public anger against her and the central government, Irani on Friday tried to reach out to the family and spoken to Vemula’s mother over telephone. She had assured her that justice would be done on the basis of a judicial inquiry.

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