Monday, 30th October 2017

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IIT accused of denying nod to talk on CAA

Blow to free discussion, says speaker

By Subhankar Chowdhury in Calcutta
  • Published 13.02.20, 1:50 AM
  • Updated 13.02.20, 1:50 AM
  • a min read
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Science Education Group, a group of research scholars at the IIT, had planned to organise the panel discussion to understand the implications of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, National Register of Citizens and National Population Register, said an organiser. (Shutterstock)

A section of students and teachers of IIT Kharagpur alleged on Wednesday that the authorities had not allowed them to conduct a discussion titled “Understanding Citizenship” on the campus.

The authorities could not be reached for comment.

Science Education Group, a group of research scholars at the IIT, had planned to organise the panel discussion to understand the implications of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, National Register of Citizens and National Population Register, said an organiser.

“We requested the staff club (on the campus) to host the programme because the authorities are not allowing any programme on such topics at any auditorium. The club gave us permission. But on Monday the club informed us that the programme could not be held because the IIT authorities had raised objections,” said a research scholar.

Another scholar said: “An official of the club informed us that the officiating registrar of the institute, B.N. Singh, had asked them not to allow the event. We informed the panellists on Tuesday night that the event had been cancelled.”

Repeated calls to Singh went unanswered. He did not reply to text messages from Metro either.

Parthasarathi Roy, a professor of molecular biology at IISER, Kalyani, who was to speak at the discussion, said the IIT authorities’ move proved that “they wouldn’t allow a culture of free discussion to thrive on the campus”.

“The IIT Bombay administration had on January 31 warned students not to participate in any ‘anti-national and undesirable activities’. Similarly, IIT Kharagpur is imposing a ban on a seminar on CAA and NRC,” he said.

Ranjit Sur, a human rights activist who was invited as a speaker, said: “The IIT Kharagpur authorities have got scared because students of the IITs in Kanpur and Bombay and other institutes are protesting against the Centre’s divisive policies.”

A teacher at IIT Kharagpur cited a circular the authorities had issued in May 2018. It read: ...IIT Kharagpur is an institution of national importance and we do not encourage any activity, which escalates tension in the name of political affiliation, religion, caste and region....”