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IIT Madras Student row: Is derecognisation justified?

IIT – Madras took action against a students’ study group known as Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC), over a secret grievance to the Central government that it was allegedly trying to “spread hatred” towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi by distributing inflammatory pamphlets and posters in the campus. However, there was nothing published against PM Modi. The pamphlet says, “In PHD and M.S only 5.7% research scholars are Dalits, whereas 64% are upper caste. It also says faculty selection is even worst 2% for Dalits, IIT belongs to people but not Brahminical tyranny. IIT administration doesn’t deny justice.” Albeit, it was a fact which they brought in front, there was no religious hatred or derogatory message in these pamphlets. The group belongs to Dalit students and they are voicing their concern seeking justice. After this news hit the headlines, the group is temporarily derecognized but not banned. This group was accused of spreading hatred among research scholars on reservation etc.

In such circumstances, I feel ashamed that what Indian media is really reporting. I failed to understand, why they are creating mountains out of a molehill? The sole reason, IIT de-recognized this group, because they are using IIT’s name for their personal group’s interests and that’s not allowed! It is expected that student bodies adhere to the laid-down guidelines that were agreed by all of them. The decision came after the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) made an inquiry regarding the anonymous complaint it had received on the activities of the Ambedkar Periyar Student Circle (APSC) on the IIT campus. As usual, Modi and Smriti Irani have nothing to do with it. Other political parties are jumping in the issue without verifying the facts.

Now, the members of APSC are protesting against the HRD ministry’s action and the IIT’s decision to ban their activities since the decision was based only on an anonymous complaint which could have been made by the right-wing groups and that they were denied a hearing. IIT-Madras is a place of higher learning and not politics. Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle is formed for propagating Ambedkar and Periyar thoughts, in helping depressed castes and sub caste Hindus to realise the evil of caste-based discrimination taking place in modern India and expose the ideology functioning behind such discrimination. This is what, the group is for.  They are against Brahmins because IIT is run by upper caste people and Dalits have very limited space here. The tug of war between Dalits and Brahmins is very common, even as Brahmin I have objection over reservations given to Dalit. There are ongoing student’s issues. Meanwhile, the action against the group has generated a fierce debate on social media and was among the top trends of the day on Twitter.

However, here hilarious thing is that, in normal cases ‘anonymous’ complaint are never entertained by these government authorities. Even if, somebody gives cognizance to ascertain truth in the allegations, then authority gather facts by fact finding commission, then put on probe and if some charges leveled then banning take place. When no substance was found in the said complaint, there was no point in banning the activities of said forum -APSC. One expects – the management will review its decision and withdraw its ban which they has imposed, if not, it would be against the democratic system of management which works in accordance with Constitutional provisions giving rights to each of us to express, to raise voice for legitimate demands. Media and political interference should be avoided in such issue and serious action should be taken against those media groups who are spreading wrong reports on this incidence.

Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle is a small group of around 100 individuals formed on April 14 last year. They regularly hold discussions on contemporary socio-political issues like economic policies, labour laws, communalism, land acquisition ordinance and ban on eating beef in Maharashtra and Haryana. They all are mainly Dalit students and working for reforms following Dr. Ambedkar and Ramasami Naicker “Periyar”. He dropped his surname “Naicker” because it indicates caste and he was very strongly opposed to the caste-system. His admirers bestowed the title “Periyar” on him. (In Tamil “Periyar” means “the great one”.) He is also referred to as “Thanthai Periyar” (“great leader” or “great father”). He had always asked his non-Brahmin followers to shun all social and religious practices based on superstition and fight against all social inequalities and unjust customs and practices imposed by the Brahmins that resulted in denial of justice and a dignified life to the non-Brahmins.

Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle always been voicing the concerns of the oppressed communities and they have formed APSC as a platform where they can exchange and spread their opinion. They have always initiated healthy discussions on issues that they have felt were anti-people like the land acquisition policies of the NDA government or more seats of research study scholars. Whereas, if you look back in history and search a bit about Periyar, then you will get to know that he always spew venom on Hindus in Tamil Nadu. Once he said, “If you see a Brahmin and a snake, kill the Brahmin first”. He also organised physical and psychological violence against Brahmins, by cutting off their sacred thread, by garlanding Hindu Deities with slippers and old footwear. If students are following such ideologies due to sheer conditioning then this can go against social harmony in future.

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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