The Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC), a student body on the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay campus, on Wednesday demanded the resignation of the institute’s Director Subhasis Chaudhuri after the death of 18-year-old Dalit student Darshan Solanki. After the parents of Solanki, who allegedly died by suicide, spoke to television reporters about caste discrimination faced by him at IIT-B, the APPSC criticised Mr. Chaudhuri for “failing to create safe spaces for Dalit, Bahujan and Adivasi students despite being aware of what they faced”.
The APPSC, in a statement, once again blamed the suicide of Mr. Solanki on the institute’s failure to act in time and said, “We demand the resignation of the Director of the Institute in the light of these new facts and hope that the administration will start the much-needed learning process, at least now.”
The student body went on to say, “What’s most distressing in this whole episode, is the consistent attempts by the administration, including the Director, to outrightly deny that there is any caste discrimination on campus.” Further, the APPSC said that students and organisations that are trying to bring issues of discrimination to light are in turn being “accused of harming the prestige of this premier institute”.
“The systematic denial of even the right to express what they are going through, by using various institutional mechanisms and tactics, in the name of the prestige of the institute, is the most cruel form of ignorance and exclusion,” the APPSC statement said.
Saying that it was not just apathy, but a “monumental failure” on the part of the administration in “having a clear understanding of their own functioning”, the student body blamed the “lack of merit and lack of competence” of the administration in running institutes with such diverse populations.
Those who require assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts may contact Sanjivini, Society for Mental Health suicide prevention helpline 011-4076 9002 (10 a.m. to 7.30 p.m., Monday-Saturday).