On Sunday, June 7, IIT Madras lifted the ban on students’ group Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC) after a meeting with student representatives and the institution’s board members.
Dropping its decision to de-recognise APSC, the institute also appointed Professor Miland Brahme as Advisor after talks between the Dean of Students and representatives of APSC to resolve the issue.
“The Dean of Students reinstated the recognition of APSC as an independent student body, and after consultation with the APSC representatives, recommended Professor Milind Brahme as the Faculty Advisor,” a statement from IIT-M said.
“Professor Brahme has consented to advise APSC as required in the guidelines for independent student bodies,” it said.
The Times of India reported that a public statement released by IIT-M and APSC said, “The APSC representatives conveyed their views to the director; in particular, that the guidelines for independent student bodies was published on the website on April 18, 2015, while their meeting took place on April 14, 2015. After discussions with the director, he requested them to meet the dean of students. In view of the above, the dean reinstated the recognition of APSC as an independent student body.”
Following an anonymous complaint that a students group in IIT – M was inducing hatred against the prime minister and Hindus, the human resource development ministry made an inquiry into the matter and subsequently shut the group down.
After this decision, a number of protests broke out across the country condemning the government. In a show of solidarity for the rights of IIT-M students, IIT-Bombay, IIT-Delhi, Kolkata’s Jadavpur University and Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University have now formed similar groups.
“IIT Madras has not banned any student organisation, in particular, any SC student Association…. the registration granted to this group for utilising the institute infrastructure has been withheld temporarily,” IIT-M’s Director-in-charge had earlier said.
IIT-M’s action had also triggered political outrage and protests by several parties including Congress, DMK, AAP and several others in Chennai and Delhi. Even NDA’s Maharashtra ally RPI had described it as an “act of injustice” and an “attack” on freedom of expression.
With student protests demanding the withdrawal of this action, the university convened a meeting with the Board of Students.
Noting that the Board of Students met and discussed the issues raised by APSC regarding modifications and made suggestions for ensuring uniform guidelines for independent student bodies, the IIT-M release on revocation of the ban said that some of the suggestions will be taken up in “due course”.
“Some of these will be implemented by the Office of Dean (Students), while the Student Affairs Council, Board of Students, and Senate will take up the modifications in due course for consideration as per established procedure,” it said.
APSC and Dean of Students expressed satisfaction that the matter “has been closed”, the release said.