New Delhi/Chennai, May 29: The Indian Institute of Technology Madras was at the centre of row on Friday, May 29 over de-recognition of a students group, many of whom are Dalits, following a complaint that it was critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, triggering protests from Congress and AAP.
What is the entire issue?
A student group 'Ambedkar Periyar Students Circle' (APSC) was "de-recognised" following an allegation that it was instigating hatred against the Prime Minister. [IIT-Madras takes action against students' group, debate in social media]
HRD ministry has nothing to do with it, IIT-Madras took action as per their own guidelines, says Smriti Irani
Irani said IIT, Madras was an autonomous institution which took its own decisions.
"I know people in the Congress party are very much interested in finding some flaw with the HRD ministry. But I am sure that they understand that autonomous educational institutions have the right to administer their institution as per their own laws".
HRD Ministry statement
The action has been taken by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras as per the guidelines of the institute.. the ministry of human resource development had nothing to do with this except for forwarding the complaint received to director, IIT, Madras for comments," the ministry said in a statement.
It went on to say that IIT-Madras has taken action as per their own "procedure and institute's guidelines".
"IITs being autonomous institutions, they are competent to handle matters within their guidelines and procedure. The matter has been clarified by IIT-Madras through a media statement dated May 29," it added.
What did the IIT Madras Dean Sivakumar M Srinivasan say?
Srinivasan said APSC violated the code of conduct for student bodies that categorically stated that activities should have Dean's approval. [Not against student's freedom of expression: IIT Madras]
Several student organisations function in the campus operating on the basis of student involvement and initiatives, the institute said in a statement.
Students groups which desire to use the institute's resources are required to be recognised and have to follow the guidelines by the Board of Students which consists of all elected student representatives, it added.
What the senior officals of IIT Madras said?
A senior official of the Madras IIT said the action was taken as the students had "violated" defined guidelines of the institute.
A senior official of the premier Central technical institute told reporters in Chennai that the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle(APSC) had "violated" defined guidelines of IIT-Madras.
"As per the guidelines in force, student bodies cannot use the name of IIT Madras or its official entities in any capacity to publicise their activities or garner support without official permission," Prof Ramamurthy, Acting Director, told reporters.
"This group has violated the guidelines while conducting their meeting," he said, adding that this leads to temporary derecognition of the group.
A separate statement by the institute said that while IIT-M does not "curtail" students' freedom of expression, "it is expected that student groups adhere to these guidelines while conducting their activities."
HRD Ministry role in the issue
The Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry had forwarded a complaint made by some students about the APSC to the institute, accusing the group of creating "hatred" against Modi and instigating protests against Centre's policies.
Citing the complaint, the HRD Ministry had written to IIT-M management on May 15 seeking its comments on the issue.
APSC said that on May 22, it received a mail from Dean of Students, Sivakumar M Srinivasan, communicating that it was being derecognised for "misuse of privileges".
How Congress targeted the Centre govt?
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi condemned IIT-Madras' move to censure a students' group for criticising the Narendra Modi-led central government.
"IIT student group banned for criticising the Modi government. What next? Free speech is our right. We will fight any attempt to crush dissent and debate," the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said in tweets posted by his office.
AAP leader Ashutosh asked whether students from Dalit community don't have a right to express their views on Prime Minister.
NSUI protested outside Irani's residence
Scores of NSUI workers today held a protest outside Smriti Irani's official residence in New Delhi over IIT-Madras de-recognising a students' body for reportedly criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The protesters from Congress' students wing raised anti-government slogans and accused the HRD Ministry of being behind the action against the body.
They also demanded that the action against the students' body be revoked. Some of the protesters were detained by police when they tried to break barricades.