Vemula was not an Ambedkarite, says Thaawar Chand Gehlot

Union Minister of Social Justice says while Rohith Vemula's suicide was tragic, his SC certificate is a matter of probe.

Updated - November 17, 2021 03:10 am IST

Published - May 31, 2016 09:16 pm IST - New Delhi

Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot.

Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot.

As the Modi government turns two, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot tells Vikas Pathak in an interview that while > Rohith Vemula's suicide was tragic, his SC certificate is a matter of probe...

Q. What do you have to say about the Rohith Vemula issue of Hyderabad in retrospect?

Yakub Menon was hanged. Against this Rohith and his friends organised a programme... Speeches were made and a campaign was launched on social media that his execution was wrong. They said we will create Yakubs in each home; we will create 100 Yakubs... An ABVP activist Sushil Kumar protested saying Yakub was a terrorist executed by Indian law and cannot be called a martyr. With 25-30 students, they beat Sushil Kumar badly. He was hospitalised. His mother went to the High Court. The HC ordered action. Rohith and some others were rusticated from hostel, not the college. There was no fellowship issue. He was not stopped from studying. I don't know whether on just this basis he did what he did. Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal and others went there without knowing facts and made noises about Dalit oppression. There had been 11 earlier suicides too but none raised a hue and cry.

Q. What do you think about the controversy over Rohith's caste?

It came out that his mother was OBC... Let me reiterate that the suicide of a person of any caste is tragic. Our government took it seriously. But they tried to fuel separatism calling it a Dalit issue. His mother's 1981-85 educational record in Rajmohalla Vidyalaya, Guntur, shows she was an OBC of Vaddera caste. On July 2, 2014, she in a letter requesting for Rohith's younger brother birth certifcate said he was OBC. Why? How was Rohith SC then? But Rahul Gandhi made an issue without thinking... The leader of the oldest party of the country is spreading separatism... Ten such incidents happened under Congress governments but other parties did not play politics like this. On the JNU incident there is no need to say much... They were also supporting anti-national activities and Rohith was also like that. See his past.

Q. But Scheduled Caste Commission chief PL Punia said Rohith was a Dalit.

Punia said he had a certificate and that he was SC. But I don't understand the 2014 affidavit of his mother. If he made a certificate, it is a matter of probe whether it is genuine or fake... The state government said he was not SC.

Q. So, do you see Vemula as an Ambedkarite or not?

Look at their actions. Amedkarites can never do this. Ambedkar was a reconciler, a believer in equality and a lover of the country. Ambedkar's thought was not like their activities...

Q. But people say your government is just into Ambedkar symbolism while it doesn't get along with Ambedkarites. What do you have to say?

Ambedkar's 100th anniversary was not celebrated well. We thought of taking his thought to all corners of India. So we thought we should celebrate the 125th anniversary through the year. We want people to understand his thought. We aren't trying to make Ambedkar ours today... We have been doing this from the 1950s just two years after the Jana Sangh was founded. The Sangh's prayer Ekaatmata strot mentions Ambedkar and all other great leaders like Gandhi, Phule, Kabir, Ravidas, etc...

Q. Should there be private sector reservation?

There has been an attempt to create an atmosphere for it but it is not yet in place... Without an environment for it and consensus, we don't know what success a law and court cases will achieve.. A committee has been working on the issue since Congress days..

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