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Rohit suicide: Judicial panel begins hearing amid JAC boycott

Hyderabad: A judicial commission set up by the Union HRD ministry to probe the alleged suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohit Vemula in the University of Hyderabad today commenced its hearing amid a boycott call given by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) for Social Justice.

The one-member Justice (retd) Ashok Kumar Roopanwal panel began its proceedings at the Centre for Distance and Virtual Learning (CDVL) here, UoH Registrar M Sudhakar told PTI.

“The proceedings are going on,” the Registrar said, adding that he would appear before the panel on February 25, on the final day of the three-day hearing.

S Munna, a member of JAC of UoH which spearheaded the protests on the suicide case demanding “justice” for Vemula, said they are boycotting the hearing because they were not consulted before and that the panel did not pay heed to its request to reschedule their visit as the dates were clashing with students protest in Delhi.

“We are holding protest in Delhi today and we had informed them (the panel) about the same on February 6 itself about our Chalo Delhi programme, but they did not respond to our request.

“… We are boycotting the commission. Its a clear-cut conspiracy to suppress our movement. It was a plan. Thats why we are opposing and boycotting,” Munna said.

He said the JAC may depose before it if the commission reschedules its hearing by changing the date and venue by “taking into consideration our opinion”. However, he clarified that no final decision has been taken as of now.

The HRD ministry had issued a notification on February 2 appointing Roopanwal, a retired judge of the Allahabad High Court, as a one-man judicial commission to look into the suicide by 26-year-old Vemula.

As per the mandate, the commission would enquire into the facts and circumstances leading to the death of Vemula and fix responsibility for lapses, if any.