Student group seeks resignation of IIT Bombay Director as caste allegations surface in student's death

Student group seeks resignation of IIT Bombay Director as caste allegations surface in student's death

The student, Darshan Solanki, 18, died allegedly after jumping off the seventh floor of a hostel building on the Powai campus on Sunday.

AgenciesUpdated: Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 10:18 PM IST
article-image
Darshan Solanki | FPJ

Mumbai: A student collective at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay on Wednesday demanded the resignation of the institute’s director in the backdrop of alleged suicide by a first-year Dalit student and allegations that he was facing caste discrimination.

The Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC) also sought that a report of the SC-ST Cell of IIT Bombay, which it claimed talks about lack of institutional support for Dalit and tribal students in the campus, be made public.

The student, Darshan Solanki, 18, died allegedly after jumping off the seventh floor of a hostel building on the Powai campus on Sunday. He hailed from Ahmedabad and was a first-year student of BTech (Chemical).

The IIT Bombay has rejected charges of caste bias and said initial inputs from the deceased’s friends suggested there was no discrimination.

In a statement, the APPSC, a student body within the campus, said, “We demand resignation of the institute director (Prof Subhasis Chaudhuri) in the light of these new facts and hope the administration will start the much-needed learning process, at least now. Despite all the detailed testimonies and data which is available with the institute, the director kept reiterating that ‘there is no discrimination’ on the campus.”

Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale on Wednesday visited the campus and demanded a thorough probe. He said, “There are allegations of the BTech student facing caste discrimination. I have asked the authorities to probe this angle as well.” Action should be taken if required, he said.

“It is a very serious incident. In 2014, a Dalit student ended his life in a similar way. Six months back, another student outside IIT-B had died by suicide. I am also aware that two students from IIT Madras had also died by suicide. Such incidents are increasing and they should be probed properly,” the minister said.

Athawale also said he will make efforts to facilitate some financial aid to Solanki’s family from the Maharashtra and Gujarat governments.

“I have sought an appointment with Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis,” he said.

In Wardha, students of the Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya (MGAV) have urged the Centre to enact a ‘Rohith Vemula Act’ to protect scholars hailing from marginalised communities and prevent campus suicides like the two reported this week. They have submitted a memorandum addressed to President Droupadi Murmu through the varsity’s Registrar.

AISF Secretary Jatin Chaudhary said, “Since 2016, students’ bodies all over India have been urging the government to enact a stringent Act on the lines of the Nirbhaya Act, that can secure students from deprived communities living and studying on campuses in the country.”

Rohith Vemula, a PhD scholar belonging to the OBC, had committed suicide at the University of Hyderabad in January 2017, ostensibly due to caste discrimination and harassment, sparking nationwide protests on academic campuses, said Chaudhary.

RECENT STORIES

KCET Results 2024: Karnataka CET Results Not To Be Declared Today!

KCET Results 2024: Karnataka CET Results Not To Be Declared Today!

Top Commerce Colleges in Delhi NCR, Check Fees & Rankings

Top Commerce Colleges in Delhi NCR, Check Fees & Rankings

Punjab Govt Declares Summer Vacation For Schools Starting May 21 Amid Soaring Heat

Punjab Govt Declares Summer Vacation For Schools Starting May 21 Amid Soaring Heat

CEE 2024: NCERT Invites Online Applications For Various Teacher Education Programmes, Check Details...

CEE 2024: NCERT Invites Online Applications For Various Teacher Education Programmes, Check Details...

Spectacular Debut: IIM Indore Bags 3rd Rank Among IIMs And 61st In FT Executive Open Rankings-2024

Spectacular Debut: IIM Indore Bags 3rd Rank Among IIMs And 61st In FT Executive Open Rankings-2024