IIT students break silence
The Students’ Senate of IIT Kharagpur issued a statement on Thursday to condemn the “extreme violence” unleashed on students and teachers at Jawaharlal Nehru University and express solidarity with them.
The statement reads: “We, the Students’ Senate of IIT Kharagpur stand in solidarity with students of JNU against extreme violence inside campus over students and faculties. The senate believes that academic campus is a sacred place where such violent incidents have no place and should be completely avoided.”
The Students’ Senate is the official representative body of students at India’s oldest IIT.
The Kharagpur campus was so far quiet though campuses across India had been expressing outrage at the attack on JNU students on Sunday. In the report “All quiet at oldest IIT” which appeared in Metro on Thursday, several students and teachers were quoted as saying that an “atmosphere of fear” was pervading the campus.
The fear, they said, stems from a circular banning “political/apolitical gathering/ meeting” on the campus without permission.
Thursday’s senate statement, some people on the campus said, was an attempt at breaking the silence.
The statement said it had been issued to condemn “violence inside any academic institute. Our sole aim is to promote the development of science and technology and to provide a holistic growth environment for our students and prevent such sad incidents from perpetuating”.
Some research scholars held a protest outside the campus on Wednesday. No protest has yet been organised on the campus.
A student said on Thursday: “After IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur and IIT Delhi publicly voiced their dissent at what was happening across the country, questions were being raised within our Students’ Senate why we were keeping quiet. After a prolonged discussion, the senate was forced to issue the statement.”
Several professors said the absence of any reference to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens in the statement showed the students were still scared.
One student said the “fear” was not confined to students. “The teachers are equally scared. Elsewhere, teachers are issuing statements and walking with students in protest marches. Here, teachers are too scared to even talk to students (on the issue). They, too, fear action from the authorities,” he said.