Ending a week-long standoff, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-Madras) today revoked its ban on a student group which was critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – the row engulfed Smriti Irani-led HRD ministry whose letter was integral to driving the controversy.
Dropping its decision to de-recognise Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC), the institute also appointed Professor Miland Brahme as Advisor after talks between the Dean of Students and representatives of APSC to resolve the issue.
“The Dean of Students reinstated the recognition of APSC as an independent student body, and after consultation with the APSC representatives, recommended Professor Milind Brahme as the Faculty Advisor,” a statement from IIT-Madras said.
“Professor Brahme has consented to advise APSC as required in the guidelines for independent student bodies,” it said.
IIT-Madras found itself at the centre of a controversy after it recently derecognised APSC, many of whose members are Dalits, following a complaint that it was critical of Modi.
Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani also came under fire from political parties including Congress and students’ bodies for the action against the APSC.
IIT-Madras had, however, maintained that “as per the guidelines in force, student bodies cannot use its name or its official entities in any capacity to publicise their activities or garner support without official permission.”
With students staging protests demanding withdrawal of the action, IIT-Madras had last week convened a meeting of the Board of Students.
Noting that the Board of Students met and discussed the issues raised by APSC regarding modifications and suggestions for ensuring uniform guidelines for independent student bodies, the release said, some of the suggestions will be taken up in “due course”.
“Some of these will be implemented by the Office of Dean (Students), while the Student Affairs Council, Board of Students, and Senate will take up the modifications in due course for consideration as per established procedure,” it said.
APSC and Dean of Students expressed satisfaction that the matter “has been closed”, the release said.