On Commemorating the 125th Birth Anniversary of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar, APSC had organized a seminar on 14th of April, in which Prof. Ram Punyani delivered a speech on “Liberating Ambedkar’s ideology from the religious nationalism” at the IC & SR auditorium inside IIT Madras.
We had got the required approval from the IIT management for this event with some conditions likes not to issue flyers since it is “menace to habitat”. On 14th Shortly before the seminar could begin, the security personnel of around 7 who were at the entrance of the auditorium, refused to allow people who didn’t have an IIT identity card as per order of Dean of student. Due to this many aspirants of Dr.Ambedkar who came in to hear Prof. Ram Punyani’s speech were not able to attend the meeting and they were sent back with disappointment.
We talked to Dean of Student and Director, they replied this is an old rule outsiders are not allowed for Institute lectures in IITM. This is due to environmental reason. But nobody knows there exit such rule. This is not a case for any of such meeting seminars held inside the campus by any student groups. A recent seminar on “Innovations driving the fourth industrial revolution” by CEO of Switzerland based Robtic company, conducted inside the campus had members joining in from various corporate houses and none of them were denied entry (There is no identify card verifications). Similarly for seminars organized by the pro hindutva study circle the management is not posing any such restrictions. Recently on past January, members of vande matram group organized a lecture on “critiquing contemporary indology studies” by Rajive Malhotra also took place with many outsiders, there was not a single “operating procedure” applied with them. It is only for us that management is showing this discrimination blatantly with no second thought. Once again it has proved that the Institute is not operating for the cause of common people rather for corporate and Hindutva.
Right from the day we decided to have a seminar on Ambedkar’s birth day, the management started creating hurdles and we crossed them one after the other. From compelling us not to conduct any cultural programme and restricting us from issuing pamphlets regarding the Institution did everything in its capacity to stop us. While issuing the pamphlets also, our study circle members were even threatened by a mob of more than 30 pro hindutva students were warned of severe consequences if we continue to spread the thoughts of Ambedkar. This was their last weapon that, not allowing outsiders for the talk, but more number of IIT students was participated and supported us. People from outside constantly argued with the security guards and with our faculty in charge to allow inside the hall, finally we decided to continue the speech outside of IC&SR auditorium. The speech continued there for more than hour and many of IIT students and outside members welcomed our move of conducting the speech outside the auditorium. It is very hard to digest that even during the 125th anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar, such discrimination continues and is sitting in the minds of the highly educated people of the institution.
This is not the single incident; we are suffocating like anything for conducting any such events from the date of commencing of APSC, the restrictions increased even a lot after the re recognition of APSC. APSC condemns the prejudiced, discriminatory and anarchy move of IITM administration towards curbing the activity of our team. We hope? The same activity of IITM admin will not occur in future atleast for the sake of the institute’s reputation!!
APSC TEAM, IIT Madras