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Unveiling Caste Identity Crisis: The Rohith Vemula Case and Systemic Marginalisation by the Government

Unveiling Caste Identity Crisis: The Rohith Vemula Case and Systemic Marginalisation by the Government

Rathod Raghuvardhan

In the final report submitted by the Telangana Police to the High Court of Telangana, a pivotal question regarding Rohith Vemula’s identity arises. Despite implicating the former Vice Chancellor and BJP leaders in the case, the police absolved them of any wrongdoing. They asserted that Rohith Vemula was cognizant of not belonging to a Scheduled Caste (SC) community, indicating that his SC certificate was falsely procured by his mother. This raises a profound inquiry: how does one substantiate caste identity? This issue looms large across India, impeding Dalits from accessing their entitled rights due to the reliance on mere certificates.

In Telangana, particularly, the process of obtaining a caste certificate for SC/ST individuals mandates declarations from the gram panchayat, gazetted signatures, existing caste certificates of family members, and various forms. However, complications arise when a family member lacks a caste identity. Beyond caste, SC/ST communities struggle to affirm their very citizenship. In Hyderabad, where tribal communities reside, many migrated to the city generations ago. They subsist through jobs such as selling flowers or engaging in daily wage labour. While most parents lack Aadhar cards, schools demand them for admission of their children, despite the Telangana High Court verdict “Can’t Deny A Citizen’s Statutory Rights For Not Having Aadhar Card”. Initiating the Aadhar registration process leads to a bureaucratic labyrinth, as assistants require birth certificates for unregistered births, which in turn necessitate parental identity proofs, typically Aadhar cards. It is clear that the marginalised who are already backward in terms of education are made fully marginalised with the strict and useless documentation process of the government.

The BJP government, active in implementing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and fostering narratives around the Sangh Parivar, fails to ensure identity documentation, particularly Aadhar cards, which have become de facto citizenship proofs. It is evident that the BJP government prioritises leveraging citizens for elections over genuine development initiatives. Despite awareness that the marginalised sections face hurdles in education and development, the government’s stringent rules exacerbate accessibility issues, requiring certificates to obtain more certificates. Moreover, recognizing the historical oppression faced by Dalits and marginalised communities, the Rohith Vemula case underscores the government’s blatant disregard for authentic identities in pursuit of political gains.


Rathod Raghuvardhan is from Adilabad district of Telangana state. He completed his Pre-University Course at RGUKT Andhra Pradesh and is currently a second-year bachelor’s student at EFL University, Hyderabad, specializing in digital communication. Additionally, he serves as the President of the Students’ Union at EFL University.

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