Tamil Nadu

Situation in IIT Madras grave when it comes to SC/ST students and faculty, says NCSC member Swaraj Vidwaan

A view of the entrance of IIT Madras

A view of the entrance of IIT Madras   | Photo Credit: M. SRINATH

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The National Commission for Scheduled Castes Member said employees from SC, ST and even OBC communities faced discrimination and mental harassment at the institution

National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) Member, Swaraj Vidwaan, on Friday said that the situation in IIT-Madras was grave and deeply concerning when it came to students and faculty belonging to Scheduled Castes, (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) communities.

Addressing media in the backdrop of the Coordination Committee meeting of the Federation of All IITs SC ST Employees Associations, for which she is the patron, Ms. Swaraj said that the reservation policy was not followed properly in faculty appointments and students admissions at IIT-Madras.

Ms. Swaraj said she had learnt from data collected by students and faculty members that of the 2,320 admissions made to M.S. programme in the last ten years, only 47 were from SC and six from ST communities. Similarly, she said that of the 3,846 Ph. D admissions in the last 10 years, only 213 were from SC and 21 from ST. “This is alarming,” she said.

The situation was the same when it came to the appointments and promotions of faculty members. “Reservation policy is not followed at all in engaging employees through outsourcing,” she said. She also said it was unjustifiable that the IIT-M administration has not recognised the SC ST Employees Welfare Association.

“Also, some of these issues could have been addressed if the SC ST Liaison Officer was discharging his duty properly. We hear that is not the case. The present officer must be changed,” she said.

Ms. Swaraj stressed the need to immediately form a functioning SC ST grievance redressal cell. She said that employees from SC, ST and even OBC communities faced discrimination, mental harassment, and lived in constant fear of receiving memos or other punitive action if they raised any issues.

Pointing out that she had visited at least three IITs before, Ms. Swaraj said the situation here seemed to be the worst. “The administration is functioning like a dictatorship,” she said, adding that all the students, including those from general communities faced numerous issues.

Highlighting that around 15 students have committed suicide in the last decade including the recent death of Fathima Latheef, she said the administration does not seem to have gone deep into the causes of these deaths and taken measures to prevent them. “I have sought details of how many of these students were from SC ST or OBC communities,” she said.

Stating that she had met the Director of IIT-Madras during this visit before all these issues were brought to her notice, she said she will issue a notice to the Director regarding all these issues. “I will also personally take it up with the President of India, Prime Minister, and the Minister for Human Resources Development since the issues are serious,” she said.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 4:59:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/situation-in-iit-madras-grave-when-it-comes-to-sc-st-students-and-faculty-says-swaraj-vidwaan/article30114598.ece

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