Nagpur: IIT Madras on Sunday lifted the ban on the students’ group Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC) after a meeting between a students body and the intitution’s board members.
Dropping its decision to de-recognise APSC, the institute also appointed Professor Miland Brahme as Advisor after talks between the Dean of Students and representatives of APSC to resolve the issue.
“The Dean of Students reinstated the recognition of APSC as an independent student body, and after consultation with the APSC representatives, recommended Professor Milind Brahme as the Faculty Advisor,” a statement from IIT-M said.
“Professor Brahme has consented to advise APSC as required in the guidelines for independent student bodies,” it said.
The Times of India reported that a public statement released by IIT-M and APSC said, “The APSC representatives conveyed their views to the director; in particular, that the guidelines for independent student bodies was published on the website on April 18, 2015, while their meeting took place on April 14, 2015. After discussions with the director, he requested them to meet the dean of students. In view of the above, the dean reinstated the recognition of APSC as an independent student body.”
A faculty member however, said that the decision to ban the group had been taken ‘in panic’ by the Dean.
The unnamed faculty member told the Indian Express that the institution was officially autonomous and the group had been banned despite the fact that it had been formed before the rule that outlawed it had been created.
Following an anonymous complaint that a student group ‘Ambedkar-Periyar’ in IIT Madras was inducing “hatred” against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Hindus, the human resource development ministry had made an inquiry into the activities of the said group in May and had then shut it down.
After this decision, protests had broken out across India condemning the step. In a show of solidarity for the rights of IIT-M students, IIT-Bombay, IIT-Delhi, Kolkata’s Jadavpur University and Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University have now formed similar groups.
“IIT Madras has not banned any student organisation, in particular, any SC student Association…. the registration granted to this group for utilising the institute infrastructure has been withheld temporarily,” IIT-M’s Director-in-charge had earlier said.
The APSC, which is registered with the Dean of Students, is expected to follow prescribed guidelines such as not using IIT-M’s name to publicise their activities or garner support without official permission, the reply said.
IIT-M’s action had also triggered political outrage and protests by several parties including Congress, DMK, AAP and several others in Chennai and Delhi. Even NDA’s Maharashtra ally RPI had described it as an “act of injustice” and an “attack” on freedom of expression.
With students staging protests demanding withdrawal of the action, IIT-M had last week convened a meeting of the Board of Students.
Noting that the Board of Students met and discussed the issues raised by APSC regarding modifications and suggestions for ensuring uniform guidelines for independent student bodies, the IIT-M release on revocation of the ban said that some of the suggestions will be taken up in “due course”.
“Some of these will be implemented by the Office of Dean (Students), while the Student Affairs Council, Board of Students, and Senate will take up the modifications in due course for consideration as per established procedure,” it said.
APSC and Dean of Students expressed satisfaction that the matter “has been closed”, the release said.