Rohith Vemula’s mother alleges harassment by Smriti Irani

By: Maitreyee Boruah
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Bengaluru, March 10: Radhika Vemula, mother of Rohith, the Dalit research scholar who committed suicide in Hyderabad, alleged harassment by the Human Research Development (HRD) minister Smriti Irani. Radhika says the HRD minister harassed and tortured her because of her caste.

"Mrs Smriti Irani, the honorable HRD minister, has treated me as if I am worth nothing. She has harassed and tortured me in the name of my caste. Because of this I have lost my son, Rohith, and my adoptive mother."

Smriti Irani

:To this date, this government is trying very hard to prove that I am not a Dalit, that I do not belong to the scheduled caste. This is a shame and causes deep pain," said Radhika.

"In this country, no Dalit woman is treated as per the law. Dalit women are not treated as equals compared to others," she added.

Rohith committed suicide on January 17.

Rohith's tragic death has become a rallying point for all those who have long been saying that there exists a systematic discrimination of Dalit students in the higher educational institutions across the country. The Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, University of Hyderabad (UoH), Hyderabad, is in the forefront protesting against the expulsion and the boycott of five Dalit research scholars at the university.

Rohith was one of the five scholars who were expelled from the university, after a scuffle broke out between Ambedkar Students' Association (ASA) (Rohith was a member of ASA) and AkhilBharatiyaVidyarthiParishad (ABVP) in August last year.

Radhika said that she wanted to celebrate March 10 as Dalit Women's Day.

"Last year, on the 118th death anniversary of Savitribai Phule, my son Rohith came home to Guntur and said, 'Savitribai Phule fought and struggled for Dalit Women.'Rohith also said that the students of the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) celebrated Savitribai's death anniversary as Dalit Women's Day on March 10, on the university campus. Rohith is not with me, not with us anymore. I want to organise a meeting on that day, March 10, 2016 on the HCU Campus," added Radhika.

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