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Freedom Politics

IIT-B bars students from “anti-national” activities

DoSA issues advisory over email guidelines for acceptable behavior which include a ban on “undesirable activities

Sabrangindia 29 Jan 2020

IIT bombay

In an email sent to hostel students advising them about rules, Prof. George Mathew, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs of the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IIT-B) has issued 15 guidelines for acceptable behaviour. One of these is especially curious given the present political climate.

It says, “Residents shall not participate in any anti-national, anti-social and or any undesirable activities.” This becomes particularly interesting when read with two more guideline on the list:

“No posters or leaflets/pamphlets distribution allowed in the hostel without permission from the respective hostel council or DoSA (Dean of Student Affairs).”

And

“Speeches/play/music or any other activities that disturbs (sic) the peace of hostel environment is strictly prohibited. Not allowed even if faculty is part of gathering. Only matters that are approved from DoSA office will be permitted.”

The advisory is being viewed as a violation of the right to freedom of speech and expression of students. It is noteworthy that IIT-B students had marched in solidarity with students of Jamia Milia Islamia University after the latter were attacked by security personnel for raising voices of dissent against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). IIT-B students have also been attending various other rallies across the city and participating in pro-democracy demonstrations including the protest at Gateway of India recently. Students also participated in a rally to create awareness about the Constitution on the eve of Republic Day and yet another one on January 26 titled ‘Reclaiming the Republic’.

It is also noteworthy how the email ends on an almost ominous note saying, “The security of IIT Bombay is already authorised to take action for any violation of the above rules.” This virtual carte blanche to “take action” reads almost like a threat. This threat sounds particularly potent in wake of violence against university students across India on campuses such as the Aligarh Muslim University (AU), the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Cotton University in Guwahati and many more.

IIT-B bars students from “anti-national” activities

DoSA issues advisory over email guidelines for acceptable behavior which include a ban on “undesirable activities

IIT bombay

In an email sent to hostel students advising them about rules, Prof. George Mathew, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs of the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IIT-B) has issued 15 guidelines for acceptable behaviour. One of these is especially curious given the present political climate.

It says, “Residents shall not participate in any anti-national, anti-social and or any undesirable activities.” This becomes particularly interesting when read with two more guideline on the list:

“No posters or leaflets/pamphlets distribution allowed in the hostel without permission from the respective hostel council or DoSA (Dean of Student Affairs).”

And

“Speeches/play/music or any other activities that disturbs (sic) the peace of hostel environment is strictly prohibited. Not allowed even if faculty is part of gathering. Only matters that are approved from DoSA office will be permitted.”

The advisory is being viewed as a violation of the right to freedom of speech and expression of students. It is noteworthy that IIT-B students had marched in solidarity with students of Jamia Milia Islamia University after the latter were attacked by security personnel for raising voices of dissent against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). IIT-B students have also been attending various other rallies across the city and participating in pro-democracy demonstrations including the protest at Gateway of India recently. Students also participated in a rally to create awareness about the Constitution on the eve of Republic Day and yet another one on January 26 titled ‘Reclaiming the Republic’.

It is also noteworthy how the email ends on an almost ominous note saying, “The security of IIT Bombay is already authorised to take action for any violation of the above rules.” This virtual carte blanche to “take action” reads almost like a threat. This threat sounds particularly potent in wake of violence against university students across India on campuses such as the Aligarh Muslim University (AU), the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Cotton University in Guwahati and many more.

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