IIT-D takes back 2 Dalit students, but says no caste bias
Shreya Dhoundial / CNN-IBN
New Delhi: Under pressure from the National Commission for Scheduled
Castes/Schedules Tribes Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi had its
arm twisted to take back the students it expelled.
Akhilesh Kumar, a fourth year student of mechanical engineering at
IIT-Delhi is one of the 12 SC/ST students who were terminated from the
institute this year for poor academic performance.
Akhilesh was diagnosed with schizophrenia recently and says he
deserves a chance to complete his degree. He alleges that the reason
IIT-Delhi isn't showing leniency is because of his caste.
"Professors forcefully asked me 'are you from SC/ST' and if you are
not able to answer them then they say that the only reason you are
here is because of reservation. You are like a sarkari jammaai
(government's son-in-law)," Akhilesh alleges.
Worried about remarks like those of Akhilesh's at the country's
premier engineering institute, the SC/ST Commission had asked the IIT
to review the 12 expulsions.
IIT-Delhi set up a review committee headed by a retired Dalit
professor and revoked three expulsions, two of them of SC students.
But the SC/ST Commission is far from happy.
Chairman of the SC/ST Commission Buta Singh says IIT-Delhi is openly
flouting University Grants Commission's (UGC) guidelines on Dalit
students. He says he will now ask the HRD Ministry to revoke the
suspension of the remaining 10 students
"Their review should be taken up by an outside agency because I have
lost my faith in the IIT," says Buta Singh.
IIT-Delhi has refused to comment on the issue. But in a press release
the institute says, "All allegations of caste bias against the
institute are imagined. A special review committee went by the
rulebook, looked into each of the cases separately. No students or
parent bought up the issue of caste discrimination during the
Dalit students say it's not just this case and that they are often
made to feel guilty about being at IIT-Delhi and have no institutional
IIT-Delhi on the other hand is upset that a case of academic
incompetence is being twisted into one of caste discrimination and the
truth as always is in the middle.
And it is an inconvenient truth perhaps that both sides need to
confront sooner rather than later.