“It has been two years since your death, but what has changed,” chorused students of Hyderabad Central University, as they marked the second death anniversary of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula. While media was barred from covering the event, The Quint got exclusive access to it.
Exactly two years ago, the scholar was found hanging in a hostel room on HCU campus. The death sparked outrage across the country, with people questioning the circumstances that led to his alleged suicide.
On Wednesday, 17 January, various speakers came together to speak against the ‘institutional murder of Dalit students’, at the university campus.
Ambedkar Students Association President Munna, speaking at the event, said that they will not “forget or forgive” what the University had done to Rohith.
We will not forget or forgive what the government or the University has done to Rohith Vemula. The scars will always be fresh.Munna, ASA President
Dhontha Prashanth, former president of HCU Student Union and Rohith’s friend who was suspended following a tussle with ABVP students, addressing the event said that the campus was still reeling from the effects of Rohith’s death.
It has been two years since Rohith Vemula’s demise but the campus is still choking. Today, even if we get a seat by merit we are still looked at through the eyes of caste and discrimination. Why? Because we are Dalit.
Laxminarayanan, a professor at the HCU, said that we should all work towards annihilation of caste, in Rohith Vemula’s name.
Today should be celebrated as the day of annihilation of caste and we should all work towards that. We are living in a saffronised country. We have to take the pledge to form a casteless society where we actually practice ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.’Laxminarayanan, HCU Professor
Prakash Ambedkar, who was also a guest at the event, said that every student should have the choice to “adopt and articulate” the concept of education.
We should adopt and articulate the concept of education. Every student should have that choice. The right way to should be brought into practice because that would only be the right way to pay respects to him.Prakash Ambedkar
Another Dalit scholar Suraj said that the people should come together and find “power” to stand against the casteist system.
We should make this a day of pilgrimage when people all over the world who are oppressed can come together and find power to stand against the casteist system. Let us acknowledge this as the Rohith Vemula movement.Suraj, Dalit scholar