Refuting the claims made by HRD Minister Smriti Irani in Parliament, the on-duty Chief Medical Officer of University of Hyderabad, Dr. M Rajshree says that she had rushed to the hostel room as soon as she got a call about a medical emergency, but Rohith Vemula - a Dalit PhD student - was dead by the time she reached.
On Wednesday, HRD minister Smriti Irani alleged in the Lok Sabha that no doctor was allowed near the body of Rohith Vemula on the day he committed suicide, either to revive or remove him to hospital. She claimed that the body was used as a political tool.
However, contradicting Irani’s statement, CMO Rajshree said that she arrived at the spot 20 minutes after the body was recovered.
Narrating the sequence of events, Dr Rajshree said, "I returned from work on January 17 in the evening when my driver called me and said that a student had committed suicide at the NRS hostel. Within minutes I rushed to the hostel and saw Rohith's body lying on a bed."
The CMO said she examined the body at around 7:20pm and declared Rohith dead within 10 minutes. "Rigor mortis (stiffening of the joints and muscles) had set in. There was no pulse, blood-pressure or heart sound in his body. Even his pupils were dilated. After examining the body, I declared him dead," she added.
Dr Rajshree claims that the time of death and their arrival was recorded in the health book of the Hyderabad Central University and VC was also informed. The doctor said she was at the hostel till 3am the day Rohith died. "Around 2:30am, I also gave Rohith's mother anti-anxiety pills as she was in shock. She was already having her BP tablets. However, we had to take care of her health as well.”
After Irani's statement came out, a video was also shared by a student named Zikrullah Nisha on social media. He claimed that he was the one who called the health care centre immediately after learning that Rohith had hung himself.
Vermula, along with his four colleagues, had been fighting in vain to reverse a varsity decision to suspend them. He committed suicide by hanging himself on January 17 and left behind a suicide note blaming none but the "system" for his death.