IIT Students' body says ridiculing SC/ST students is the norm

Updated: Dec 27, 2017, 19:35 IST | Pallavi Smart

Coordination of Science and Technology Institutes' Student Association issues statement saying premier institutes of India have miserably failed to understand the experiences of students, especially from marginalised sections

It has been almost a month since Akshay Kamble, a Badlapur boy, who was studying at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, went missing. While police investigation continues and his family awaits news, a statement issued by the Coordination of Science and Technology Institutes' Student Association (COSTISA) on Tuesday evening has sparked a controversy. The students' body has alleged that premier institutes of India have miserably failed to understand the experiences of students, especially from marginalised sections of society, and no precautionary measures or strict actions have been taken to avoid such incidents.

Akshay Kamble celebrates his birthday. File pic
Akshay Kamble celebrates his birthday. File pic

The student body demands that culprits responsible for ragging Akshay be booked under the Atrocities Act. The statement by COSTISA reads, "It is common knowledge that SC/ST students studying in IITs have to face both open and hidden forms of ridicule, harassment and discrimination. JEE rank, accent, dressing sense, etc become markers of caste in these institutions. The meritocratic arguments against reservations by upper caste students and faculty members work towards wilting the self-confidence of students coming from poor social and economic backgrounds, who begin to see themselves as undeserving of an IIT academic life."

Akshay Kamble
Akshay Kamble

When mid-day reached out to the Ministry of Human Resource Development, R Subrahmanyam, special secretary for Technical Education, stating that he hasn't seen the statement yet, responded saying, "I must say that empathetic response to the issues of socially disadvantaged students is a mandate of the ministry to all institutions. In the last year and half, several proactive measures have been taken to support students from disadvantaged communities including mentorship, pal system, economic assistance, counselling system etc."

The statement
JEE rank, accent, dressing sense, etc become markers of caste in these institutions. The meritocratic arguments against reservations by upper caste students and faculty members work towards wilting the self-confidence of students coming from poor social and economic backgrounds, who begin to see themselves as undeserving of an IIT academic life Coordination of Science and Technology Institutes' Student Association

'Review students' conditions'
Sunita Ambhore, mother of Aniket Ambhore, who died after falling from terrace of his institute in the year 2014, has reached out to the Kamble family. Aniket, according to his parents and friends, was allegedly subjected to continuous taunts and remarks about his caste at the institute. "We hope that Akshay comes back as soon as possible. The authorities have been really insensitive to the Kamble family. I am constantly in touch with his father who is in Kanpur right now. With new cases surfacing every time, it amounts to great concern that we need to review conditions of students coming from marginalised backgrounds," she said.

The incident
Akshay Kamble, a third-year Computer Science student, is missing since November 29. The 20-year-old went missing after he reportedly left the campus on the 29th to catch a train to Mumbai. But he did not reach home at the expected time and his father rushed to IIT Kanpur on the 30th. While there is no significant development in the investigations that have followed by Kanpur police, his father Bheemrao Kamble, a school-teacher, is living in the same hostel-room where Akshay lived, in order to closely follow the probe. Against this backdrop, several students' organisations, especially those working for students from the marginalised sections of society, have come together in support of the Kamble family. Akshay's father has connected his disappearance to the ragging and mental harassment that he was facing at the institute.

Catch up on all the latest Mumbai news, current affairs from Mumbai, local news, crime news and breaking headlines here

Download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get updates on all the latest and trending stories on the go

Trending Video

From 1st October, govt. school students to say 'Jai Hind' instead of 'yes sir/madam' : M.P. Education Minister

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK