Update: In mid February 2017, the district collector of Guntur, in Andhra Pradesh, issued a showcause notice to Radhika Vemula, Rohith Vemula's mother. The district collector's notice asked Radhika to prove within two weeks that she belongs to Scheduled Caste community, and stated that if she was unable to do so, the caste certificates issued to her and her children would be cancelled.
On 25 August 2016, the Indian Express reported that a one-man panel set up by the Ministry for Human Resource Development (MHRD) to probe the caste identity of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit scholar from the University of Hyderabad (UoH), ruled in its report that Vemula did not belong to the Scheduled Caste community. AK Roopanwal, a former Allahabad High Court judge appointed to the panel in January this year, submitted his report to the MHRD in the first week of August, the Indian Express reported. In January, Vemula’s suicide sparked a series of protests on the UoH campus, which then spread throughout the nation. After his death, several politicians attempted to avoid getting charged under the Prevention of Atrocities (SC/ST) Act by claiming that, because his father belongs to the Vaddera caste—classified as OBC, or Other Backward Class—Vemula was not a Dalit.
The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) also took up the issue of Vemula's caste identity. On 22 June, it issued a report confirming that Vemula was a Dalit. The commission noted that as someone brought up in the SC community, he was to be treated as part of it. In June, PL Punia, the chairman of the commission, said that the police will “have to act on atrocity charges against the accused.” On 4 August, the NCSC asked the Cyberabad police to expedite the investigation into the suicide of Vemula's suicide, and to file a chargesheet “at the earliest.”