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Rohith Vemula’s Mother, Brother Embrace Buddhism

Rohit Vemula’s family was given ‘deeksha’ at a function in Mumbai in the presence of grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar.

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The mother and brother of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide at Hyderabad Central University in January sparking strong protests across the country, embraced Buddhism on Thursday, on the occasion of Dr B R Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary.

Rohith’s mother Radhika and brother Naga Chaitanya Vemula, also known as Raja Vemula, were given ‘deeksha’ at a function in Dadar here in the presence of Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar.

Ambedkar, Dalit icon and architect of the Indian Constitution, coverted to Buddhism at a grand ceremony in Nagpur in 1956 as he was strongly opposed to the caste system in Hindusim.

At the venue of the deeksha ceremony, the mother-son duo paid tributes to Dr Ambedkar and bowed before his portrait.

Raja Vemula said, “My brother Rohith was a Buddhist at heart although he did not convert. He took his own life as he was discriminated because he was a Dalit. We performed his last rites according to Buddhist traditions, honouring his love for Buddhism.”

Prakash Ambedkar said Buddhist monks gave ‘deeksha’ to Rohith’s mother and brother at a function on the sidelines of a programme marking the birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar.

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