Tag Archive for Rohith Vemula’s mother

Dalit women´s body slams retired judge´s sexist comment against Rohith Vemula’s mother


Ambedkarite Women Against Atrocities, India (AWAA) issues statement condemning the report released by retired judge K Roopanwal whose mandate was to inquire into the facts and circumstances leading to research scholar Rohith Vemula’s death

Here is the full text of the statement;

Dear Friends,

We the members of  Ambedkarite Women Against Atrocities’, India (AWAA)  condemned here the wording of the report by retired judge K. Roopanwal, which indicates an attempt of defamation and character assassination of Radhika Vemulla. Under the garb of fact finding  the committee has done all efforts to find out the cast of Radhika and Rohit as the remarks were made by Mr. Roopanwal directly  was an attack  on Radhika’s  character.

The comments were not only just gender biased  but insulting womanhood and her human rights to live with human dignity.

We protest against this discriminatory , biased report, we  demand to file a case against  Mr. Roopanwal to damage  the dignity of Radhika Vemula by doing character assassinations and passed scurrilous remarks.  We , Ambedkarite women from all over India demand a public apology from Mr. Roopanwal and a compensation following such a deplorable statement.

This is in the context of the news was published on  6th October 2016, in the Indian Express,  was titled “ The whitewash: Probe alleges Rohith Vemula’s mother faked Dalit status, blames him for his suicide”.

We find that the special efforts were made to  disclose Mr. Roopnwal’s committee’s report  through specific media because they wanted to shift entire matter to target Radhika Vemula and proving her caste as OBC would be an advantage for them to escape from the punishment under atrocity act. 

In this news, according to the reporter, the one man commission was appointed whose mandate was to inquire into the facts and circumstances leading to Vemula’s death, review existing grievance mechanism for students at HCU and suggest improvements. But she did not take any cognizance  of the fact that in the same month on 25th  August 2016, another tribunal report was also published. The tribunal was organized by the concerned teachers, writers, and lawyers of Hyderabad.  It was chaired by Justice  K. Chandru,  Retired judge High Court Madras. Prof Govardhan Wankhede, TISS, Bombay and Prof Ghanshyamdas Shah were the members.

The brief to the tribunal was to examine the circumstances leading to leading to the suicide committed by Rohit Vemula Chakravarthy, a Research Scholar as well as the police action subsequent to his death and the existing caste discrimination practiced by the University. And, to recommend among other things, besides protocols to enable marginalized students to fully participate and enjoy the academic, political and social space of the university more productively and effectively; and to examine the existing grievance redressal systems to prevent caste discrimination in the University of Hyderabad and evaluate their effectiveness.

We member of AWAA demand to disclose both the reports publicly through media and Government.

We express our solidarity with Radhika Vemula and her kids as well as  congratulate Ambedkar Student’s Association for it’s success in student’s elections. There are several efforts made by Government, University and narrow minded casteist people to suppress women’s voice especially women from Dalit-Adivasi-OBC and minorities. Here we also demand to sustain and strengthen an act against Atrocities (SC/ST)

AWAA is an all India level network of prominent individuals and organizations of women who beleive in Phule-Ambedkarite ideology. This was founded by social activists, writers and researchers like Lata Pratibha Madhukar, Abhinaya Ramesh in Maharashtra. It was very much supported by  prominent socio-political activists, theoreticians, professors, artists, engineers, environmentalists, and writers from other parts of India 

Rohith Vemula suicide: Activists say attack on his mother is an attempt to delegitimize Dalit woman’s life-long struggle


Activists representing Solidarity Committee for Rohith’s mother Radhika state that Radhika’s life-long struggle as a single mother, as an abandoned wife in an inter-caste marriage, her lived experience as a Dalit woman are being ruthlessly put under the scanner by ruling BJP politicians

Full text of the statement:
We believe there is a concerted effort on the part of the powers-that-be to diffuse the nation-wide mass protests against Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula’s death and caste discrimination in higher educational institutions. They are keen to demonstrate that Rohith did not face caste discrimination by claiming that his mother Radhika is not a Dalit. Rather than addressing the critical issues that his death and the protests have raised, these misdirected attempts seek to dissolve the issue in narrow legalese. And thereby somehow save the people named in the students’ complaint from the stringent penal provisions of the SC/ST Atrocities Act. This malicious campaign is unethical, illegal and undemocratic.

More importantly, it is an attempt to discredit Radhika. Her life long struggle as a single mother, as an abandoned wife in an inter-caste marriage, her lived experience as a Dalit woman are being ruthlessly put under the scanner. Her and her childrens’ struggles against the caste order and its violence are being erased. By delegitimizing her struggle as a single parent it reinstates the rule of patriarchal caste hierarchy and makes the cruel claim that a child belongs to the father even after abandonment.

Despite his possession of an SC certificate, a series of statements issued forth from the Central Ministers such as Smriti Irani and now Sushma Swaraj and the leaders of BJP and ABVP that Rohith was not a Dalit. Rohith’s absent father was brought into the scene who claimed that his deceased son, who he has not met in two decades, was a Vaddera. Two days ago, the local Vaddera association also gave a statement that Rohith was not a Dalit.

Radhika has clearly stated that she and her sons lived among the SC community and she brought up her children. Rohith has written about the caste discrimination that his mother and he suffered. If this is the social experience of Rohith’s family, why is Radhika being asked about her biological identity? Why is there an investigation into the personal life of Radhika? This attempt to establish Radhika’s identity through the principle of bloodline amounts to nothing but humiliation, harassment and mental torture of a person who has been subjected to caste discrimination throughout her life and who has just lost her son.

This atrocious exercise thereby seeks to fall back on the patriarchal law set out by Manusmriti, against which the law of the land has been framed, and has dangerous implications. Adjudicating one of the several cases that come before the court, a recent SC judgment (Rameshbhai Dabhai Naika Vs.State of Gujarat and others, 2012) clearly lays out the rules in determining the caste of the child borne of marriages between a non-Dalit father and a Dalit mother. “It is open to the child of such marriage to lead evidence to show that he/she was brought up by the mother who belonged to the scheduled caste/scheduled tribe”. It clearly lays out the questions to be asked in each case. “Did his father’s non-Dalit status give him an “advantageous start in life” or did he suffer “the deprivations, indignities, humilities and handicaps like any other member of the community to which his/her mother belonged? Additionally, was he treated like a member of the community to which his mother belonged not only by that community but by the people outside the community as well?”

Rohith belongs to Scheduled Caste and chose to live his life as a Dalit. His lived experience, his social identity and his membership of Ambedkar Students’ Association clearly demonstrate this. Even in his death he chose to identify as a Dalit

Despite the social life and legal status, Radhika’s and her family’s dignity, privacy and emotional well-being is being viciously attacked and damaged by none other than the representatives of the State. Central Cabinet Ministers, the Intelligence Bureau, National Security Advisor, District administration and the state police, are all being deployed in this attack on the dignity and privacy of Radhika and her family. This attack must stop.

On behalf of Solidarity Committee for Rohith’s mother Radhika

Gogu Shyamala
Sujatha Surepally
Vasudha Nagaraj
Lakshmi Kutty