Tamil Nadu

IIT ex-faculty member writes to Pradhan

A positive step would be for the next director of IIT-Madras to be from the SCs, STs or OBCs, a former faculty member said in his letter to the Union Minister.

A positive step would be for the next director of IIT-Madras to be from the SCs, STs or OBCs, a former faculty member said in his letter to the Union Minister.

The head of the Humanities and Social Sciences Department at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, should step down to ensure fair investigation on his complaint of caste-based discrimination, a former faculty of the institute, has said.

Vipin P. Veetil, 36, who was an assistant professor of Economics, resigned on July 1, citing discrimination on the basis of caste.

In a five-page letter to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on the ongoing investigation based on his complaint, he said the institute had formed a three-member committee to investigate the issue that he had reported to the grievance committee. However, head of the department Jyotirmaya Tripathy, who he accused, “is liaising between the investigating committee and the faculty members of the department,” he said in his letter.

Mr. Veetil said he wrote on August 5 and 16 to the institution pointing out that “due process” demanded that Mr. Tripathy step down as head of the department until the investigation was completed so that he did not tamper with the evidence. But the institute director had not responded.

Mr. Tripathy was coordinating the investigation, and this sent a wrong signal to faculty members who were interviewed by the committee. These members depend on their head of the department for promotions, research grants and access to resources, he said.

Mr. Veetil said the Minister should instruct the institute to “dethrone” Mr. Tripathy temporarily and he should “be considered for positions of power only after the ongoing investigation of the internal grievance committee and that of the National Commission for Other Backward Classes is complete”. He said V.R. Muraleedharan, “one of the accused”, was the Senate nominee on the IIT-Madras Board of Governors. His presence on the board would adversely affect the investigation, he said.

‘Deeper rot’

Mr. Veetil rued that the administration had not asked Mr. Tripathy to step down even before the investigation began. Such acts were not oversight but superficial manifestation of a far deeper rot “of subjugation of truth, justice and scholarship by caste,” he said.

For such subjugation to be removed, affirmative action must be taken at the highest level of administration, including the board of governors and head of departments, he said. A positive step would be for the next director of the Institute to be from the SCs, STs or OBCs, he suggested.


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Printable version | Sep 15, 2022 9:42:13 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/iit-ex-faculty-member-writes-to-pradhan/article36146487.ece