No one killed Rohith Vemula, children of Gorakhpur tragedy?
New Delhi, August 17: Back in 2011, Bollywood film, No One Killed Jessica, based on the Jessica Lal murder case, presented the audience with great clarity what usually happens when an accused in any crime case is rich and politically powerful.
Like in the case of murder of model and restaurant worker Jessica, who was shot dead by Manu Sharma, son of Haryana Congress leader Venod Sharma in a restaurant in the national capital in 1999, in most such crimes where rich and powerful are involved, the families of victims in India have to fight a long and arduous battle to bring to book the culprits.
Those like Jessica's sister, Sabrina, who fought a lonely fight to make sure that Manu got life imprisonment, are rare. Thus, most such cases die without ever justice being delivered to the families of victims.
It seems similar is the fate of family members and friends of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide after being allegedly harassed by authorities of the University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, where he was pursuing his higher education.
Since the time, the 26-year-old Dalit research scholar committed suicide inside the campus of UoH on January 17 last year, his friends and family members presented multiple evidences which "clearly put the onus on university authorities, former human resource and development (HRD) minister Smriti Irani and union labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya for pushing Rohith to end his life".
Now, more than a year later, a probe panel report stated that "no one killed Rohith", indicating that the 26-year-old did not kill himself due to university action against him. However, one thing no one can deny that Rohith was expelled from the university before he committed suicide.
The report of the one-man judicial commission under former Allahabad high court judge Justice AK Roopanwal, set up by the HRD ministry, said "Rohith was a troubled individual and was unhappy for several reasons".
The enquiry commission report submitted to the HRD ministry last year, also said that Rohith was not a Dalit by caste, besides giving a clean chit to then HRD minister Irani and BJP leader Dattatreya.
The report on Rohith's suicide came to light on Wednesday. On the same day, one more investigation report, conducted by competent authorities selected by the Centre, gave the verdict that the death of more than 70 children at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, recently did not take place due to lack of supply of oxygen, as has been alleged by the parents of the deceased.
"In fact, the number of deaths at the hospital has reduced compared to last year,'' Dr Harish Chellani, who was part of the team, said.
The three-member team visited the hospital on Saturday. "As per information and data provided to us, it does not look like the deaths have all happened due to shortage of oxygen," Chellani said.
"As per the records, we have fewer deaths when compared to the figures at the same time last year." The team comprised experts from the Lady Hardinge Medical College, Safdarjung Hospital and from the Ministry's Immunisation Department.
The Indian Medical Association has also sent its own team to investigate the matter and submit a report by Thursday.
Although death of Rohith and the children took place months apart, they are joined by one link--"no authorities are to be blamed for the unfortunate deaths".
The findings of central-government appointed teams in both Rohith's suicide case and Gorakhpur tragedy gave clean chit to the people in power.
The allegations levelled by the families and friends of deceased were "proved wrong" by competent authorities in both the cases.
No matter how much available evidence in public domain indicate otherwise, implicating people in power, or families of deceased cry foul, justice once again has been denied in two major "murder" cases that rocked the nation in recent times.