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'Acknowledge Rohith’s Dalit identity, punish those responsible for his death’

Counterview Desk 
In an open letter, the civil rights group All-India Feminist Alliance has expressed solidarity with the struggle of Radhika Vemula, mother of Rohith Vemula, Dalit PhD student of University of Hyderabad who was forced to commit suicide in 2016 because of the authorities' indifference towards his plight after his scholarship was withheld.
The letter regrets the recent decision of the Telangana police to file a ‘closure report’, wrongfully stating that Rohith is not Dalit, calling it "an affront to his life, his struggle as a brilliant scholar, his Ambedkarite principles, his resistance to Brahmanical oppression, and the harrowing circumstances in which his institutional murder took place."

Text: 

Dear Radhika garu,
Jai Bhim. We, the undersigned members of the All-India Feminist Alliance (ALIFA), write to express our unwavering support and solidarity with you, as you are forced to undertake yet another struggle to challenge the erasure of Rohith’s identity. We share your pain and anguish, while we also salute your spirit to march onwards for justice and dignity, for Rohith, for yourself, for all Dalits in the country.
The recent development of the Telangana police filing a ‘closure report’, wrongfully stating that Rohith is not Dalit is an affront to his life, his struggle as a brilliant scholar, his Ambedkarite principles, his resistance to Brahmanical oppression, and the harrowing circumstances in which his institutional murder took place. This regressive report undermines his memory and dishonours the tireless pursuit by you, as his brave mother, his family, students and friends, in seeking justice and dignity for Rohith. 
Rohith’s ‘death’ is a stark reminder of the systemic injustices and deep-seated discrimination and violence that Dalits continue to endure, despite constitutional safeguards, and this police report is yet another manifestation of that oppression. The attempt to erase Rohith’s Dalit identity is not just a denial of his life and experiences; it is a denial of the struggles faced by you and millions of Dalits across our country. It insults their dignity, their aspirations, and their right to justice. 
Radhika garu, your strong determination to ensure that Rohith’s life, struggle and memory is not tarnished and that his legacy of resistance lives on, is a testament to your strength and resilience.
Rohith’s death is a stark reminder of the systemic injustices and deep-seated discrimination and violence that Dalits continue to endure
Owing to widespread student and public outrage and your meeting with the Chief Minister a few days back, the state police has clarified its decision to investigate the case further, with permission from the Court. In this situation, we call upon the authorities to conduct a thorough and fair inquiry. 
We demand that Rohith’s Dalit identity be acknowledged and respected and all those responsible for his ‘death’, including former VC of the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) and those in high positions of power in the BJP-led Central Government, be brought to justice.
As has been promised by the Congress Govt repeatedly and even recently, we demand that the Rohith Vemula Act be passed, in order to safeguard the right to education, non-discrimination, safety and dignity of students from Dalit, adivasi, OBC backgrounds as well as students from religious minorities and gender marginalisations. Perpetrators of crimes against all these students must be punished as per Rohith Act.
Dear Radhika garu: As you continue your fight for justice, please know that you are not alone. You are fighting for millions of youth across India. And millions of people across India are with you. As feminists, we stand with you in your constant efforts at affirming Rohith’s and your struggle against caste-based discrimination, seeking a fair investigation and action towards justice and accountability.  We are with you, shoulder to shoulder, in solidarity and sisterhood. Together, we shall overcome.  
From shadows to the stars! Rohith Vemula Amar Rahe!
Jai Bhim, Jai Savitri!
---
Click here for signatories 

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