Hyderabad: Family members of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide in a hostel room on Sunday, today declined the ex-gratia offered to them by the Hyderabad Central University (HCU). Expressing their displeasure towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, the bereaved family has now sought answers from the government asking why it took them five days to revert to them.
Vemula's mother Radhika, sister Neelima and brother Raju, who visited the campus, demanded that "those responsible for his death" must be brought to book.
The university had announced a compensation of Rs 8 lakh to the family yesterday, which the family declined to accept. In reply to the university's offer, Neelima said, "Not Rs 8 lakh. Even if you give us Rs 8 crore, we will not accept it from HCU where he died."
Expressing her annoyance over the delay in action on part of the government, she said, "Smriti Irani called up after five days. Why it took five days? You are also a woman, you are also a mother and yet it took five days (to call up the family and condole the death).”
"I want to know why he died. You killed or he died? Why was he suspended? Those responsible should be arrested and punished. That's the only thing I want," she added.
She went ahead to say that his brother's death was not a suicide. “We want to know the reasons behind Rohith's death. It's not a suicide. His is not timid. He was prompted to commit suicide. Those responsible for that murder should be given punishment. First is Shusheel Kumar, second is the VC,” she said.
She also sought to know why the family was not informed of Rohith's suspension.
Raju, Rohith's brother agreed with his sister. "The Prime Minister says he (Rohith) was a son of Mother India. I am not big enough to talk about him (PM) but why did he not speak for five days?"
Breaking his silence on the matter, PM Modi had yesterday said, "When there is news that a youth of my country, Rohith, was compelled to commit suicide, what his family must have gone through. Mother India has lost a son. There will be reasons, there will be politics (surrounding it) but the fact remains that a mother has lost her son. I feel the pain very well."
Union HRD Minister Irani had yesterday sought to reach out to the family and spoke to Vemula's mother over the telephone. She had assured her that justice would be done on the basis of a judicial inquiry that was set up by the ministry yesterday.