ISM students demand IIT status for their cradle at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi (below), and Randhir Verma Chowk, Dhanbad, on Monday. (Yasir Iqbal and Gautam Dey)
The cry for an IIT status reverberated across New Delhi with more than 1,000 students from Indian School of Mines (ISM), Dhanbad, staging demonstration at Jantar Mantar on Monday to press for their long-standing demand of upgrading their 85-year-old institute.
Around 1,237km away at Randhir Verma Chowk in Dhanbad, another protest kept the campus on boil.
The demonstrations were strategically planned ahead of the crucial IIT council meeting, which was supposed to be held on September 3, but now has been deferred to September 16.
Students and alumni members want to mount pressure on the government and members of the council to pass a resolution on the conversion of ISM into an IIT.
At the last IIT council meeting on January 12, 2013, it was decided that an expert committee would review the proposal. But, the formation of this panel took more than eight months. It was finally constituted on August 31.
“If the IIT council finally passes the proposal at the upcoming meeting, we will request the Centre to introduce it in Parliament’s winter session. Further delay will put the issue on the backburner,” student leader Rajwant Singh told The Telegraph from Delhi.
The demonstration at Jantar Mantar began sharp at 9am. It drew open support from ISM’s alumni. Many like Harsh K. Gupta, a member of National Disaster Management Authority, visited the site to express solidarity.
The former students, many of whom are settled abroad, are also funding the campaign. “Our alumni are very strong and most of them are in top positions in various mineral and mining companies. They are sponsoring our campaign,” said an ISM student, requesting anonymity.
In Dhanbad, the agitation was launched at 11am with more than 300 taking out a rally from the institute’s lower grounds. The agitators raised slogans, but maintained discipline during the half-an-hour-long rally that culminated at Randhir Verma Chowk, about 1km from their cradle.
Speaking to The Telegraph, third-year student Vineet Kumar, who led the protesters, said, “There is no reason to deny the IIT tag to us. Our institute is, in fact, better that many IITs.”
If granted, the cradle will get international exposure, believes final year’s Ramanuj.
No classes were held on Monday even though the cradle had not officially suspended them.
The teachers’ association of the institute also lent moral support to the protest.