IIT group’s episode raises question about TN students’ politics

Institutions in Tamil Nadu do not allow formation of students’ platform


Shivani Chaturvedi | June 5, 2015

#iit   #madras   #students   #ambedkar   #periyar   #politics   #tamil nadu   #tn  

Last week there was a major controversy at Indian Institute of Technology – Madras (IIT-M) after it banned the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC), a student group, following an anonymous complaint to the ministry of human resource alleging that the group was trying to spread hatred towards prime minister Narendra Modi by distributing provocative pamphlets and posters in the campus.

The ministry said that it had no role in banning the group and had merely forwarded the complaint letter to the dean of the IIT.

De-recognition of the APSC, though temporary as claimed by the dean of the IIT, sparked protests across other academic institutes besides IIT-M.

The ban is seen as an attack on freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution.

C Lakshmanan who teaches at Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS) and did his doctorate on ‘Personality Cult in Tamil Nadu Politics: Study of the Culture of Dravidian Politics’, however says that the issue has been blown out of proportion.

“The larger question is why student politics in Tamil Nadu and in the university campuses is completely absent. Student politics does not exist in Tamil Nadu universities. Students’ Federation of India (SFI) is there but is not campus based organisation. Students are unable to form such groups or organisations in universities of Tamil Nadu. Madras university or any other university in the state does not even allow such platform for students. So why just attacking IIT-Madras?” says Lakshmanan.

Merely raising voice against this incident won’t resolve the issue of freedom of speech and expression or the issue of student politics. While addressing the IIT-M controversy, the issue of student politics in institutions need to be solved, he felt. 

The Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle was set up as an independent student body of IIT-M on April 14, 2014, with the objective to promote thoughts of Ambedkar and Periyar and to initiate debates on socio-economic, political and cultural issues that affect common man within the academic fraternity.



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