Rohith Vemula, the Dalit research scholar, who killed himself on Sunday, had sent Warning Signals long before taking the drastic step.In a letter dated December 18, 2015 that bordered on a suicide note, he had asked the University authorities to offer “euthanasia” for him and other research scholars. All students were part of the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA).
In the note, he described some possible modes of suicide. Vemula asked the Vice-Chancellor to supply, “a nice rope to the rooms of all Dalit Students through the chief warden… or serve 10 mg of sodium azide to all the Dalit students at the time of admission.” The letter was submitted along with a petition demanding that the university administration revoke their expulsion from hostels. Students who stayed put at the New Research Scholars’ (NRS) hostel, keeping watch over the body of Rohith, did not allow the police to enter it till 7.30 a.m.
Protests against the student suicide spiralled out of UoH with students from Osmania University and English and Foreign Languages University taking out rallies and burning the effigy of Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Vice-Chancellor P. Appa Rao.
Protests were staged in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam and districts in Kerala, including Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, and Malappuram.