Monday, 8 August, 2022
HomeIndiaIIT-Madras professor resigns alleging 'multiple instances' of caste-based discrimination

IIT-Madras professor resigns alleging ‘multiple instances’ of caste-based discrimination

Assistant professor Vipin Veetil's resignation comes only two days after NCSC pulled up IIT-Madras for not hiring enough candidates to fill SC/ST/OBC vacancies for teaching positions.

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New Delhi: An assistant professor of economics at Indian Institute of Technology-Madras has resigned from his post alleging incidents of caste-based discrimination at the premier educational institution.

Professor Vipin P. Veetil’s resignation email, which is now public, reads: “There were multiple specific instances of discrimination and I shall be pursuing appropriate action to address it…. One of the curious phenomena I have observed here is that the Bayesian prior among many is that caste discrimination is a rare occurrence. My own experience, and conservation with members of SC and OBC communities, suggests that the prior is far from true.”

The professor from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT-M claimed that while discrimination comes in several forms, it comes from people in position of power and irrespective of gender and their claimed political affiliations.

ThePrint reached Veetil through mail, text messages and phone calls, but he remained unavailable for a comment.

IIT-M refused to comment on the issue. Its official response emailed to ThePrint said: “The Institute has no comments on this email. Any complaint received by the Institute from employees and students is attended to promptly through the established process of redressing grievances.”

ChintaBAR, an independent student group at the institute, meanwhile, reiterated its demand for setting up of SC/ST and OBC cells for grievance redressal, and that an inquiry be conducted into the matter raised by Veetil.

A statement issued by the group read: “ChintaBAR has been demanding the setting up of functioning SC,ST and OBC cells in the institute and for expanding the scope of grievance redressal mechanism established at the department level to address the issues of discrimination, harassment etc…”

It added: “We reiterate our previous demands and also demand that the administration and the concerned authorities conduct an inquiry in a time bound manner into the matter of resignation of the said faculty member.”

Speaking on the issue, National Commission for Scheduled Castes chairman Vijay Sampla said: “As of now we haven’t received any formal request from anyone but we are looking into the matter. Steps will be taken to help the aggrieved professor soon.”


Also read: UGC directs central, state universities to fill up vacant SC, ST & OBC staff posts


NCSC pulled up IIT-M over SC/ST/OBC hiring

Veetil’s resignation letter comes only two days after the NCSC pulled up the institute for not hiring enough candidates for the SC/ST/OBC vacancies for teaching positions.

Over the last few years, IIT-Madras has been in the news for allegations of discriminatory practices and poor grievance redressal of such victims. The suicide death of student Fathima Latheef in 2019 brought the issue of caste-based discrimination at the institute to the fore.

After the suicide, then NCSC chief Swaraj Vidhwan had said in a statement SC/ST students and faculty were facing mental harassment and discrimination. She had ordered an inquiry into the matter.

In 2020, a report in The Hindu said the acceptance rate of SC/ST students at IIT-M was much lower than stipulated by law. It said: “The data showed that SC students numbered only 7.6% and STs were just 1.2%. The reservation policy requires that 15% of seats be allocated to SCs and 7.5% to STs.”


Also read: IIT Madras report on Fathima Latheef suicide ‘silent on religious discrimination’


 

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