CHENNAI: The Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC) of IIT Madras is in the news again. This time, their effort to stage a protest in solidarity with JNU students, has been ‘thwarted’ by the IITM management.
While close to 30 students, representing the study circle, assembled near Himalayas Lawn in the IIT premises on Monday to protest against the arrest of JNU student union president Kanhaiya Kumar, the IIT administration reportedly refused to give them permission.
According to a post by the group on social media on late in the evening, the administration was ready to give them permission to protest on Wednesday but on certain conditions.
“If the students avoided distributing handbills, chanting slogans, or any verbal demonstration within the allowed limits (hostel zone) since the administration considered it is a menace to the habitat,” read the post.
It went to state that when the students tried to negotiate further, the Dean of Students, denied permission stating that it’s time for ‘quize’ (an internal exam conducted by IITM)
“While several events have been held during these exams earlier including two Students Affairs Council (SAC) meetings, it has now rejected ours,” an APSC member told Express, requesting anonymity.
However, the APSC students claimed that close to 40 students, said to be ABVP supporters, assembled and chanted slogans allegedly without prior permission.
“While the administration, close to 15 private security personnel and local police were keen on ensuring that we did not protest, no one was bothered about the ABVP students’ unlawful assembly,” he added. Even the media was not allowed inside the campus and the social media post also mentioned that the dean was against ‘outsiders’ joining the protest on Wednesday.
Announcing their solidarity with the students of JNU, a group of faculty members at the IIT Madras have issued a statement raising serious concern over recent events in JNU.
In a letter written to the President of India, they said these events indicated the imposition of a narrow definition of nationalism by the state that excludes the possibility of dissent.
“Our university spaces have always fostered this space for debate and disagreement. As we view these spaces being criminalised and violently curbed, we are concerned that we are no longer able to foster spaces for open democracy,” said professor Tarun K. Chandrayadula.
In the letter, they said universities need to nurture critical thinking, as opposed to telling students and the polity how to think.