IIT-Kanpur probing complaints not poem, says director
IIT-Kanpur has formed a committee to inquire into various complaints regarding a demonstration on campus where a poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz was read out to express solidarity with students of Jamia Millia Islamia, but its director has clarified that it wasn’t to assess whether the poem was anti-Hindu or not.
“The reality is that the institute has received complaints from multiple sections of the community that during a protest march taken out by students certain poem was read and then subsequently certain social media posts were made, which were inflammatory,” IIT-Kanpur director Abhay Karandikar said on Thursday.
He described as “very misleading” reports in a section of the media claiming since Wednesday that the institute had set up the committee to decide whether the poem by Faiz was anti-Hindu or not.
“The institute has also received complaints from other sections of the community that during the protest march, a group tried to block the march, which was incorrect. So, the institute has set up a committee to look into all these complaints to see if they are genuine. And if they are genuine, what remedial action is to be taken,” he added.
IIT-Kanpur deputy director Manindra Agarwal said that students recited Faiz’s poem, Hum Dekhenge, on campus on December 17 to express solidarity with their peers at Jamia Millia Islamia.
Deputy director Agarwal said a “very peaceful protest” was held that day by about 300 students on campus as they weren’t allowed to go out due to imposition of prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in the city.
Vashimant Sharma, a temporary faculty member, and 16 others, including faculty members and students, filed a written complaint against the recitation of the poem to the director.
“The video suggests that the poem also provokes anti-Hindu sentiments,” the complaint stated, adding that the poem had some words that could hurt the sentiments of Hindus, Agarwal said.
“A committee of six members was established, headed by me, to investigate the matter. Some students have been questioned, while the others will be questioned after they return to the institution after the holidays,” the deputy director said.
There was a war of words on social media between those supporting the recitation of the poem and those who opposed it, he said.
“It was escalating the situation and hence we requested both sides to stop it. They obliged,” Agarwal said.
“We would take some more days to hear both sides before coming up with the findings. Once everything cools down, we will be able to sort out the matter amicably,” he said.