IIT-M in controversy over 'derecognition' of students' body

Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras has found itself in a controversy over the alleged derecognition of a students' body for reportedly criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A senior official of the premier Central technical institute told reporters that the students had "violated" defined guidelines of IIT-Madras.

"As per the guidelines in force, student bodies cannot use the name of IIT Madras or its official entities in any capacity to publicise their activities or garner support without official permission," Prof Ramamurthy, Acting Director, told reporters here.

"This group has violated the guidelines while conducting their meeting," he said without elaborating. A separate statement by the institute said that while IIT-M does not "curtail" students' freedom of expression, "it is expected that student groups adhere to these guidelines while conducting their activities."

The institute's response comes in the wake of reports that the student group 'Ambedkar Periyar Students Circle' (APSC) was 'derecognised' following an allegation that it was instigating hatred against the PM.

Meanwhile, the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry, which forwarded a complaint made by some students about the APSC to the institute, has so far refused to react on the issue.

Asked about complaints that the students concerned were not given a hearing to present their case, Ramamurthy said the dean of students had asked them to appear before the Board of Students in August after the institute, closed for the summer vacations, reopens.

Asked if the action was taken on an 'anonymous complaint' against APSC, the acting director said he was not aware of it. Several student organisations function in the campus operating on the basis of student involvement and initiatives, the institute said in a statement.

While some represent the 'entire student body,' elected and run by themselves, some groups are formed on the basis of interests of students, it said. Students groups which desire to use the institute's resources are required to be recognised and have to follow the guidelines by the Board of Students which consists of all elected student representatives, it added.

"Normally violation of these guidelines leads to temporary derecognition, pending their presenting stands to Board of Students. In the present case also, the same procedure is being followed," it said.

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