Rohith Vemula's mother, brother embrace Buddhism

Rohith Vemula's mother, brother embrace Buddhism

Rohith Vemula's mother, brother embrace Buddhism

The mother and brother of Rohith Vemula embraced Buddhism on the 125th birth anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on Thursday, and questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on the circumstances that led to the suicide of the Dalit scholar

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Late Rohith Vemula’s mother Radhika Vemula and brother Raja Vemula had their initiation ceremony at Chaityabhoomi at Dadar here, and were given the “deeksha” by Buddhist monks in the presence of former MP and Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh founder-President Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr Ambedkar, the Dalit icon.

Rohith Vemula, 27, a PhD student at the University of Hyderabad, committed suicide on January 17, 2016.

Later, in a statement, Raja Vemula said: “Together, all the people fighting for justice for my brother are asking just one  question – why doesn’t Prime Minister Narendra Modi say a single word about the University of Hyderabad Vice Chancellor P Appa Rao? When he can shed tears for my brother, why can’t he make a single statement about the people responsible for his death.”

He also targeted Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani and described her as a “political culprit”.

"From today, my mother and I will start a life that Rohith always dreamt of. From today, my mother and I will be truly free, free from shame, free from daily humiliation, free from guilt of praying to the same Gods in whose name our people have been tortured for centuries,” he said.

“We know our fight is going to be long and hard. But we feel strong and hopeful because the spirit of Ambedkar, Buddha and my brother Rohith Vemula is with us,” he said.

At the venue of the deeksha ceremony, the mother-son duo paid tributes to Dr Ambedkar and bowed before his portrait. Ambedkar had converted to Buddhism at a grand ceremony in Nagpur on October 14, 1956 as he was strongly opposed to the prevailing Hindu caste system.

“We decided to organise the ‘deeksha’ ceremony after the family requested us,” said Prakash Ambedkar.

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