Hyderabad, Jan 17: With heavy hearts and tears in their eyes, family, friends and supporters of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula paid homage to him on his first death anniversary in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
Rohith committed suicide inside the campus of the University of Hyderabad -- his alma mater -- on January 17 last year.
The members of the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice at the UoH marked the day as Rohith Shahadath Din (Rohith's Martyrdom Day), inside the campus of the institute.
"Rohith was forced to commit suicide. He was a bright student, with dreams in his eyes. He died a sad death. His death is a reminder that discrimination against Dalits, minorities and women is a dark reality of India," rued his friend Syed Riyaz.
A huge pan-India movement demanding justice for Rohith broke out across the country, within days after he committed suicide.
The family and friends of Rohith allege that the 26-year- old committed suicide because of the harassment he faced at the hands of the university's vice chancellor Appa Rao and senior BJP leaders, including former Human Resource Development minister Smriti Irani.
"His killers are free and enjoying their lives. We will continue with our struggle till justice is delivered in Rohith's tragic death," added Riyaz.