IIT-Madras Dalit students study circle, what next?

Chennai: IIT Madras plans an emergency meeting of its board of students to try and resolve its standoff with a student study group ‘Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle’ that it derecognised last week for circulating ‘without permission’ a pamphlet criticising the Government.

The board of students, made up of all the elected student representatives of IIT-Madras, is likely to meet this week or early next week.

The institute authorities had described the de-recognition as temporary, saying the study circle would be allowed to defend itself before the board of students at its next scheduled meeting on August 1.

But with a wave of protests outside the institute gates restricting access to the campus and affecting normal activities, director Bhaskar Ramamurthy, who is abroad, is said to have advised them to call an emergency meeting.

The teachers have expressed unhappiness at the negative media coverage the institute has attracted over the “minor misunderstanding” with its students.”Had it been handled more judiciously, it would not have become an all-India issue,” a senior professor said.

Although a member of the study circle said it would not relent till each of its demands had been met, the management appears unlikely to give in meekly.

Members of the study group demonstrated inside the campus on Tuesday but the media were not allowed in to cover it .The past few days have seen protests by student bodies and political parties outside the IIT gates in support of the study circle, disrupting traffic on the busy road that connects the airport with the city’s IT corridor. Faced with a headache, Chennai police have nudged the institute to defuse the crisis

A media statement by the institute said that at a meeting with acting director K. Ramamurthy today, members of the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle set the following demands:

♦ Re-recognition of the group;

♦ An unconditional apology from the dean of students for “misuse of official power” (in de-recognising it);

♦ Scrapping the “undemocratic” guidelines that the authorities had cited while de-recognising the group;

♦ Official recognition for all the independent student bodies at the institute and permission for them to express their social, economic and political views;

♦ Making available to all student groups facilities such as the IIT hall, its official mail account and a permanent study-cum-meeting room.

The study circle’s pamphlet had generated an anonymous complaint that the Union human resource development ministry forwarded with negative comments to the IIT, prompting the action.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes has  issued notices summoning the Union human resource development secretary and the IIT Madras director before it on June 8, PTI added.

Earlier, the commission had sent the institute a notice describing its action as a “prima facie” violation of the law to prevent atrocities against Dalits.

The tech school had defended its action, denying it had curtailed free speech or banned any student organisation.

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Posted by on June 3, 2015. Filed under Breaking News,INDIA -WIDE. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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