Tamil Nadu

IIT-Madras professor resigns, alleges caste discrimination

A qualified faculty member of the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras resigned alleging caste discrimination.

His mail to other faculty members was widely circulated on social media on Thursday.

Vipin Pudiyath Veetil, an assistant professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, sent out the mail, alleging that he had been discriminated against because of his caste ever since he joined the institute in 2019.

“The discrimination came from individuals in positions of power irrespective of their claimed political affiliations and gender,” he wrote.

He said he was leaving the IIT for another institution because of this, and he would “pursue appropriate actions to address the matter”.

In his mail, he suggested that the institute constitute a committee to study the experience of Scheduled Caste and Other Backward Class faculty members. He also suggested that the committee should have SC/ST commission, OBC commission and psychologists.

He said those who were discriminated against might benefit by filing complaints with the committee at the institute and by moving courts. He ended his mail with a rhetoric: “Societies progress one small step at a time, or do they?”

According to the institute website, Mr. Veetil, a post-doctoral faculty member in the Department of Economics, completed his schooling in China and bachelor’s in economics at Hindu College, Delhi University. He has spent time in institutions in Europe and then earned his Ph.D. at George Mason University in the U.S.

He has published several papers in peer-reviewed journals, and three are awaiting release. In 2020, he co-authored an analysis of the economic cost of the COVID-19 lockdown across the world.

While the institute refrained from talking to the media, ChintaBAR, an organisation of students on the campus, has taken to social media, alleging that the IITs have been in the news recently for caste discrimination against students and persistent violation of reservation norms in admission to Ph.D. programmes.

ChitaBAR said it had been demanding functional Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe and Other Backward Class cells in the institute to expand the scope of the grievance redress mechanism to cover discrimination in the departments. It called for an inquiry into the resignation of Mr. Veetil.

Neither Mr. Veetil nor the institute official in charge of the grievance redress mechanism responded to messages or calls. The head of the Department of Economics, Jyotirmaya Tripathy, said it would be improper on his part to comment on the issue.

No comments: IIT-Madras

The Indian Institute of Technology Madras has said it had nothing to say about the resignation of a faculty member from the Humanities and Social Sciences department.

The institute said in a release "Institute has no comments on this email. Any complaint received by the Institute from employees and students is attended to promptly through the established process of redressing grievances."


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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 4:47:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/iit-professor-resigns-alleges-caste-discrimination/article35089086.ece

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