Mumbai, April 14 (IANS) The mother and brother of Rohith Vemula, the Dalit scholar who committed suicide in Hyderabad, on Thursday embraced Buddhism here, saying they were now “truly free from shame”.
“If my brother were alive, he would have been proud of us,” younger brother Raja Vemula said after a brief ceremony.
“From today, my mother and I will start a life that Rohith always dreamt of. From today, my mother and I will be truly free, free from shame.”
Raja Vemula chose the occasion to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as central minister Smriti Irani over his brother’s suicide in January that triggered nationwide protests.
“Why doesn’t Modi make one statement on people responsible for his death? He sheds tears for my brother but said nothing on Appa Rao,” he said, referring to the vice-chancellor of the University of Hyderabad where Rohith hanged himself.
Raja Vemula said their rejection of Hinduism, on the birth anniversary of Dalit icon B.R. Ambedkar, was a rejection of the Hindu caste system that he alleged “allows the persecution of Dalits”.
Rohith Vemula killed himself after alleging caste discrimination in the university.
Students in the university are still demanding the dismissal of Appa Rao and action against central ministers Bandarau Dattatreya and Smriti Irani over Vemula’s suicide.
The three are accused of hounding Vemula and his Dalit friends based on a complaint by student leaders affiliated to the BJP in the university.