IIT-Madras Revokes Ban On Dalit Students Group Which Criticized Modi's Policies

07/06/2015 10:28 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Over a week after cracking down on a group comprising of Dalit students, the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras revoked its ban on the 'Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle' following a meeting between its members and IIT-M director Bhaskar Ramamurthi on Sunday.

IIT-Madras has been severely criticised for banning the group after the Union Human Resource Development Ministry informed the Institute of an anonymous complaint about these student spreading "hatred against the honourable Prime Minister and the Hindus."

"This is a victory for a strong democratic students movement," APSC said on Sunday, an English-language news channel reported.

Last week, IIT-M accused the group of violating "guidelines" to justify the ban.

"The guidelines prescribe that student bodies are not allowed to use the institute's name or (that of) any of its official entities in any capacity to publicise their activities or garner support without official approval (from the dean)," it said in a statement.

On Sunday, Professor Miland Brahme was appointed as faculty advisor to APSC "as required in the guidelines for independent student bodies," IIT-M said in a statement.

"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," said a statement, which was carried by The Times of India.

"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," said a release which was carried by NDTV.

Read: IIT-Madras Bans Student Group For Criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi

The group, which was formed in April 2014, was reportedly holding discussions that questioned government policies on the use of Hindi language and the ban on cow slaughter.

"Our organisation is engaged in propagating Ambedkar and Periyar thoughts, in helping depressed castes and the caste Hindus to realise the evil of caste-based discrimination taking place in modern India and expose the ideology functioning behind such discrimination,” the group wrote in a letter to director on May 29.

As outrage against the ban mounted in the country, Higher Education Secretary Satyanarayan Mohanty told The Hindu, last week, “We received a complaint about a pamphlet issued by the Study Circle and we forwarded it to IIT-M requesting comments of the institute. They decided to take action, which they are authorised to do as per the guidelines. The autonomy of the IIT-M is secure."

Congress Party leader Rahul Gandhi had criticised the ban.

"The ban imposed by HRD Ministry is a very dangerous step. We also go at these places like Bombay University for speech. This is against the freedom of speech. This is very dangerous, it should be stopped in the beginning," JDU leader Ali Anwar said after the ban.

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