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Rohith Vemula Was Not A Dalit: Roopanwal Commission Report

The report submitted to the University Grants Commission (UGC) by the former Allahabad High Court judge AK Roopanwal has concluded that Rohith Vemula, the 26-year-old PhD Research Scholar who committed suicide at the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) in January, did not belong to the Scheduled Caste (SC) community.

AK Roopanwal was appointed by the then HRD Minister Smriti Irani following Rohith's suicide and the political chaos that rattled the entire country and Union Ministers Thaawarchand Gehlot and Sushma Swaraj expressed doubts over Rohith's community amidst rumours that he belonged to Vaddera community, which comes under the OBC community.

However, Rohith Vemula's brother Raja rebuked the AK Roopanwal committee's report and said, "We lived like Dalits. We were raised in a Dalit community. Yes, my father was from a backward class, but whatever we know is from our experience of living like a Dalit. We have been discriminated against all our lives. Rohith referred to this in his letter too."

The AK Roopanwal report is expected to kick off a fresh nationwide political turmoil as opposition parties and student leaders of the oppressed communities will strongly voice their opinions even as the HCU vice-chancellor Appa Rao and Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya's names are still mentioned in the FIR lodged by the police under the SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act for abetting his suicide.

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