Divyansh|Dec 1, 2023
‘Systematic denial’: APPSC demands IIT Bombay director’s resignation after student’s death
IIT Bombay, which strongly refuted the claims of discrimination, said: “It is wrong to make such accusations when the police are still investigating the case".
NEW DELHI: After the recent death of a BTech student, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay has once again been facing a barrage of criticism over the alleged caste discrimination prevailing in the campus. The Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC) which termed the IIT Bombay student death "institutional murder" has now demanded resignation of IITB Director.
A first year engineering student, Darshan Solanki, jumped off the seventh floor of a hostel building on February 12 and died. Following the incident, the institute formed a committee to investigate the matter and said that it will take steps to further increase efforts to prevent such events in future.
The deceased had not left any suicide note. However, the APPSC, a study circle, highlighted the caste discrimination in IITs and stated: “We do not know what pushed him to this end: caste discrimination or unendurable stress. What we know for sure is this is an institutional issue. Let us stop looking at student suicides across campuses as isolated incidents.”
War of words: IIT Bombay denies claims on discrimination
IIT Bombay, which strongly refuted the claims of discrimination, said: “It is wrong to make such accusations when the police are still investigating the case. Based on initial inputs from friends, there is no indication that the student faced any such discrimination”.
Responding to the statement, the APPSC today said: “What's most distressing in this whole episode, is the consistent attempts by the administration, including the Director, to outrightly deny that there is any caste discrimination on campus.”
A recent report published by the NDTV, after interviewing Darshan's family, indicates that he had spoken with his family about the caste discrimination he had to face on the campus. Earlier, a senior student, with whom Darshan had been interacting, had also spoken about such discrimination with Darshan, the statement read.
The students group criticised IIT Bombay for accusing students and organizations of harming the "prestige" of this "premier" institute and stated that they were only attempting to discuss discrimination on campus.
“The systematic denial of even the right to express what they are going through, for the discriminated, by using various institutional mechanisms and tactics, in the name of the "prestige" of the institute, is the most cruel form of ignorance and exclusion,” the APPSC said.
Calling it a “monumental failure of administrations”, it said that the structural issues faced by students have been pointed out time and again for several years. On the other hand, IIT Bombay said that it has a SC/ST student cell in the institute and over the past many years there have been very few complaints to the cell, whether against faculty or other students.
“We want the administration to stop hiding the reports of the surveys, conducted by the SC ST Cell as well as others, and release them for public discussion as soon as possible,” it further said.
IIT Bombay SC, ST cell
“The unwillingness to appoint SC, ST counsellors even after our complaints shows the blatant disregards towards students,” it added.
This is not the first time the institute has denied the claims. In May 2022, the students group claimed that IIT Bombay denied allocating space for SC, ST cell. Immediately after the statement, the spokesperson said the institute has allotted office to APPSC just recently and will be handed over to them post required renovation.
According to RTI data, despite raising the issue of lack of representation of SC, ST, OBC in PhD admissions, there are still 5 departments in IIT Bombay who have not admitted a single ST candidate in the last 8 years, the APPSC informed in December 2022.
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