Rohith never told us he was in pain
s the first sun rays peeked through the cloud cover at the University of Hyderabad shortly after dawn, the bereaved Vemula family watched silently a slew of student protests over Rohith Vemula's suicide. "I was in complete dark about my son's expulsion and suicide. He never told us that he was in such pain. I hope he is free from all pain now," said Radhika Vemula, his sobbing mother.
Complaining of chest pain, the 43-year-old Radhika said how they found it extremely difficult to even see his son's body.
"Even after we arrived at the spot, the police force refused us to see my son's body. Neither were we allowed to stay here, nor were we given any account of events that forced my son to take his own life," Radhika.
She was later sent to the campus hospital, after her chest pain and weakness increased. Witnesses said she was still crying while undergoing an ECG test.
Family members recalled how Vemula would do his best to ensure that his family always got some money from his fellowship. "The last time he called us was three-days ago, when he told us that he would come back home on Sunday. Now, how do we fathom the fact that he has gone so far away from home," said Raja Vemula, his 25-year-old brother.
"We are appalled by the university's behavior. If they had to suspend a student they should have had the decency to inform the family about it. It was only after we landed at the campus did we learn that my brother was forced to sleep outside, in the cold," he added.
Family members were also shocked to learn that Vemula had borrowed Rs 40,000 from his friend Ramji and send it home. In his suicide note, Rohith had asked his family to repay the loan from his outstanding fellowship amount of Rs 1.7 lakh.
"It is not the money that I am concerned about. I am shocked at the loss of a dear friend or rather brother," was all Ramji, a research scholar of economics.
Calling the alleged suicide a murder, Venkatesh Chauhan, vice-president, UoH students' union said: "The vice-chancellor should have had the courtesy to address the parents of the victim, instead he chose to hide inside his bungalow," he said.
"I have known him since he was a toddler. Never did we have any problem with his academics or behaviour, if there was something that drove to commit suicide, he could have spoken to us," lamented Vasudha Vemula, his aunt.