You lied in Lok Sabha: IIT-B Dalit student's mom tells Smriti Irani in open letter

Sunita Ambhore, mother of Dalit IIT-B student Aniket Ambhore, who committed suicide in 2014, says her letter to HRD ministry, didn’t make it to the 61,892 letters Irani claims to have responded to

Her speech in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday — an explanation of the government’s stand on the suicide of Hyderabad scholar and Rohith Vemula and the arrest of JNU student’s union leader Kanhaiya Kumar — may have got Union HRD Minister, Smriti Zubin Irani both accolades and criticism, however, there is one person at least who feels Irani’s ministry has for long denied her justice.

Also read: 'Caste discrimination continues to exist in IIT-Bombay'

Sunita and Sanjay Ambhore, parents of Aniket, had visited Rohith Vemula’s family earlier this month. Sunita says the Vemulas have been receiving threats, being asked to “back-off” from the case. Pics/Suresh KK
Sunita and Sanjay Ambhore, parents of Aniket, had visited Rohith Vemula’s family earlier this month. Sunita says the Vemulas have been receiving threats, being asked to “back-off” from the case. Pics/Suresh KK

Sunita Ambhore is the mother of Aniket Ambhore - a student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) who was found dead after allegedly slipping and falling off the sixth floor of a hostel building in September 2014. It’s believed that Aniket may have committed suicide as he wasn’t doing well academically.

Aniket Ambhore, a student of IIT-B, allegedly committed suicide in 2014. Officials said he took this step since he wasn’t performing well academicallyAniket Ambhore, a student of IIT-B, allegedly committed suicide in 2014. Officials said he took this step since he wasn’t performing well academically

Ambhore, who has now written an open letter to the Union minister on her Facebook post said, “After the JNU controversy, I feel that institutions of higher education are pointlessly being politicised, whereas, there are more important issues that need attention.”

In her post, which Ambhore — a Hindi lecturer — hopes many share, she accuses Irani of lying in the Parliament and also not acting on the 11-page letter that the Ambhores’ had written following Aniket’s death.

While meeting sunday mid-day at her Prabhadevi home, she said, “We had written a letter to her department on November 29, 2014, regarding the current student scenario, wishing that whatever ill occurred to my son must not happen again with any other student.” Ambhore said her family hasn’t yet received a response from the ministry.

Also read: IIT-Bombay student who fell from 6th floor was struggling with failing grades, say institute's officials

Ambhore also said that her letter wanted the ministry to ensure that parents were taken into confidence if their child was not performing at the institute - another aspect that seems to have been ignored.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, the Ambhore family visited Hyderabad to show their support for Vemula’s family. The Ambhores collected R1 lakh to help Vemula’s mother in her struggle for justice. “The Vemulas are not even living in their house but are always on the HCU campus. They keep receiving threats asking them to back-off from the case. They have been offered money even. We went to meet them just to show that we support them. It is not easy to lose a young son, we understand their plight,” said Ambhore.

Ambhore's letter

Dear HRD minister Smriti Iraniji,

We had written to you regarding the current student scenario, wishing that whatever ill occurred to my son doesn’t happen again with any other student; and there be a healthy environment in all of educational campuses, for SC/ST students in order to help them flourish.

This appeal was made to you on 29th Nov ‘14. But, no action has been taken for it yet. You claimed that you resolved 61,892 cases that had come to your ministry from May 1, 2014, till date. But, our request isn’t one of them.

A large number of outstation students study in the respective IIT branches, staying away from home. The gap that needs to be filled is that if any student isn’t performing well in academics, or is suffering from any stress, isn’t it the responsibility of the institute to inform his/her parents about this? Had the management at IIT-B taken this step, the unfortunate wouldn’t have happened.

All these concerns were written to you, expecting fair...amendments in the functioning. Also, the speech that you made yesterday in the Lok Sabha was very arrogant and did not help in the discussion that was expected. Students look forward to an open and stress-free environment. Such justifications have only widened the tension amongst students. We were expecting you to make a statement that would’ve help us fight our sorrows; instead, your speech sounded like you only cared about your ‘safe-side’ and justifications pertaining to Rohith’s case.

(The letter has been translated from Hindi)

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