इंडियन आवाज़     27 Feb 2024 02:48:42      انڈین آواز

Protests over ban on Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle in IIT-Madras


ambedkar periyarDespite the Union HRD ministry distancing itself from the decision by IIT-Madras to derecognize Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC) IIT-Madras, several student unions and political parties are protesting over the ban.

Students’ body was banned for reportedly criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government.

The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) on Saturday staged a protest against the ban of a student’s group outside the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras campus. The protesters raised slogan against Modi government before being detained by the police.

On Friday Rahul Gandhi linked it to an assault on free speech and Congress’s student wing NSUI protesting outside Smriti Irani’s residence, prompting a sharp retort from the minister.

The ministry said the action against the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC) for spreading “hatred” against PM Narendra Modi was taken by IIT-Madras “as per their own procedures and guidelines”.

Education secretary Satya N Mohanty said : “The ministry has no role in the decision. We had received an anonymous complaint which was forwarded to IIT-Madras for comments. The ministry did not give any instruction. In fact, we are yet to receive the institute’s comments.” IITs were autonomous institutions and the ministry did not interfere in their functioning, he added.

IIT Madras had justified its decision to derecognize the group, clarifying that the body was merely temporarily derecognized for violating the guidelines of the institute.

The institute had de-recognized the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle over an anonymous complaint to the central government that it was trying to spread hatred towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies by distributing provocative pamphlets and posters in the campus, igniting a massive controversy.

Arundhati Roy back pro Ambekar group

Author and activist Arundhati Roy has come out in support of the student group banned by IIT-Madras on the charge of inciting “hatred” against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Hindus, saying it had “touched a nerve” by making the connection between big business and casteism.

Besides sending an email to the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC), Roy issued a statement expressing her support to the group that was “derecognised” by the IIT-Madras following an anonymous complaint forwarded by the Union human resource ministry.

“You have my unhesitating support. You have touched a nerve – what you are saying and seeing i.e.: that casteism and corporate capitalism go hand in hand is the last thing the authorities and the government want to hear,” she wrote in her email to the group comprising largely of Dalit students.

“Because they know that you are right. It is the most dangerous thing for them to hear right now,” she added in the email.

In her statement, Roy questioned what it was about the APSC “that frightened the dean of students of the IIT-Madras enough for him to unilaterally ‘derecognise’ it”.

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