Tuesday, June 2, 2015

No Freedom Of Expression In IIT Madras?

No Freedom Of Expression In IIT Madras?

Subject: No Freedom Of Expression In IIT Madras?
To: sujatamadhok@gmail.com


Dear Sujata,

The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras has de-recognised the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle. Sign Venkat's petition asking IIT Madras to revoke the ban.

Director, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Union minister for Human Resource Development: Revoke the Ban on Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle in IITM

Venkat T 
Chennai, United States

 We - academicians, researchers, students and other concerned citizens of India - are deeply dismayed and utterly anguished to learn that the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M), has banned the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle on the basis of a letter from the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, (dated, 15th May, 2015). The letter of the Under Secretary claims, on the basis of an anonymous complaint, that the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle has been carrying out 'hate campaigns' through their posters and pamphlets and demands actions by the Institute. Yielding to this pressure the Dean of Students at the IIT-M has derecognised the Study Circle stating that this forum has 'misused the privileges'.

 Started in 2014, the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle has been an important intellectual forum based in IIT-M to discuss issues that affect the poor and the  socially disadvantaged groups both within the academic lives and outside in the larger society. Through this forum students have been made to sensitively think and reflect on issues, nurture critical thoughts and knowledge, which should be the duty of the academic institutions involved in higher education. In the past, the study circle has organised hall meetings around issues such as the crisis of agriculture, problems related to Methane project, Labour laws, language politics in India to make students to critically think of these development processes that affect the every day lives of the poor. Equally important is the alertness /sharpness with which this body has intervened in the discriminative and freedom curbing policies of the institution such as the segregation of vegetarian mess for students, replacement of name boards to Sanskrit-Hindi so on. The last effort of the study circle was to organise a talk on 'Contemporary Relevance of Ambedkar'. This study circle through its intellectual activism has gained immense popularity and has nurtured critical thinking among the students which is of utmost relevance to make the young learners as responsible citizens committed to social change.

 Such de-recognition of a student body or a study circle based on unsubstantiated charges levelled by anonymous persons, without ever giving the members of the group an opportunity to defend their activities, is against the principles of natural justice. Banning an intellectually vibrant student body is against all democratic rights vested by the Constitution of India and stifles the democratic culture so vital to the vibrancy of higher educational institutions and a frontal attack on the diversity and pluralism of our Nation.

 Therefore, we, the undersigned demand that IIT-M revoke it's undemocratic decision to derecognise the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle. As a publicly funded National Institution it should not act in any manner that contradicts or violates the Constitution of India. We also appeal to the Ministry of Human Resource Development and to heads of academic institutions to protect, preserve and promote spaces for informed enquiry and social engagement upholding our democratically established freedoms

The person (or organisation) who started this petition is not affiliated with Change.org. Change.org did not create this petition and is not responsible for the petition content.

This email was sent by Change.org to sujatamadhok@gmail.com. You can edit your email preferences or unsubscribe from these emails.

No comments: