Nearly two years after Rohith Vemula’s suicide, Radhika Vemula, his mother, finally accepted the ex-gratia of Rs 8 lakh on Tuesday offered to her by the University of Hyderabad (UoH).
The University of Hyderabad offered Radhika the ex-gratia soon after Rohith committed suicide at the University on January 17, 2016. The university authorities had offered a compensation amount of Rs 8 lakh, but the Vemula family had denied to accept the money then.
On Tuesday, the Vemula family accepted the Rs 8 lakh compensation given by the University. The UoH spokesperson, Vinod Pavarala, confirmed the news and said, “The compensation amount was available for their perusal since last month. We had issued a letter to them stating that they can collect the same by February 20.”
Vemula’s mother released a press release and said that the decision to accept the compensation was done on the basis of legal and social advice, and that ‘accepting the money was not a compromise with varsity.’
The press release read, “I've learned that this money is being paid not at the behest of Apparao (UoH vice-chancellor) but as per the orders of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC). You may recall that the NCSC under the leadership of PL Punia had declared that my son Rohith was a Dalit.”
Radhika, Vemula’s mother, further said that the decision was made public to ensure ‘transparency’ in the matter. “I did not want rumours flying around that Radhika Vemula has made a secret deal with the university and accepted money… I want to state in no uncertain terms that the acceptance of this compensation, which is rightfully due to the family and dependants of Rohith Vemula, is in no way a compromise with the university management,” she said.
Earlier, Raja Vemula, Rohith’s brother, was offered job in Delhi by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Even the Andhra Pradesh government had offered ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh and a contract teacher’s job to Raja Vemula.
While the family refused to take the ex-gratia or the job offers, they accepted the offer by All India Muslim League (AIML) which said that they would construct a two-bedroom house on a 160 sq yards of land at Koppuravuru, located between Vijayawada and Guntur.
Rohith Vemula, who was a Ph.D. scholar, committed suicide on January 17, 2016, after he was expelled from the university hostel along with four other Dalit students following a complaint by an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) leader.