Students warned by IIT-Bombay get support

Updated: Jan 31, 2020, 07:35 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

IIT-BHU issues statement condemning IIT-B warning to its students; their counterparts in other institutes also stand in solidarity

NCP students' wing members met IIT-B authorities asking for withdrawal of the new code of conduct
NCP students' wing members met IIT-B authorities asking for withdrawal of the new code of conduct

A Student's collective from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-BHU), Varanasi — Students For Change (SFC) — has issued a statement condemning the IIT-B administration's warning to its students, telling them not to participate in anti-national, anti-social or undesirable activities. IIT-Bombay students have expressed anger over this code of conduct and many students' organisations from other institutes are coming out in support of them.

'Harassment of dissenting students'
The SFC statement condemns the rules, demands their withdrawal and an apology for taking away the fundamental rights of students. It starts with SFC condemning the labelling of students as anti-national. It reads, "Our freedom fighters did not fight for Independence after asking for permission from the British Queen. Rosa Parks did not ask permission from the government before fighting against segregation. Unfortunately the people in power are making a consistent effort to erase from people's minds, the fact that 'dissent' is something that is done without the need for permission from authority. For the past several years, we have noticed a trend of 'saffronisation' of university administrations across the country. This is part of an attempt to restrict free thought and mould the thought process of students in a particular direction, in line with that of the ruling Hindutva forces. Right-wing leaders and spiritual gurus are given a free pass to hold their programmes inside campuses at the invitation of the administration, while dissent is crushed by harassing dissenting students."

The SFC has also stated that the students' collective stands in solidarity with the students of IIT-Bombay in their fight for a democratic and inclusive campus. Support is also coming in from students in other institutions. The code of conduct regarding institute life has been severely criticised by students. While the authorities have stated they are only reiterating the existing rules, students have alleged that when each hostel has its individual rulebook, they are unaware from where a single code of conduct for all has been designed by the institute.

Warning of bigger agitation
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) students' wing approached the IIT-Bombay authorities on Thursday demanding the withdrawal of the new rules. Amol Matele, president of the students' wing, said, "It is wrong that such regulations have been imposed on students for taking part in activities against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). All activities have been conducted peacefully and it is the students' democratic right to register their dissent." The NCP's students' wing has warned of a bigger agitation if the code of conduct is not withdrawn.

The IIT-Bombay spokesperson reiterated how all the rules already exist and the authorities have only compiled them together to remind students. "We have never stopped students from any activities. They were just reminded of the regulations only to reiterate that hostels are not the place. We will respond with those detailed regulations to the NCP students' wing."

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