Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT-D) on Thursday withdrew a controversial notice it had posted online announcing special classes for fresh scheduled caste and scheduled tribe students to help them "adapt to the environment at IIT-D."
The notice, posted on the IIT Joint Entrance Examination website, had triggered outrage among sections of SC/ST students who dubbed the classes derogatory and humiliating, as was reported by HT yesterday.
Human resource development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal, asked about the controversial notice, hinted that the government had made it clear to the IIT that the notice must be removed. "The notice has been removed, and you should know why it has been removed," he said. IIT-D director Surendra Prasad had on Wednesday told HT that he accepted the original notice was "inappropriately worded."
"The classes are meant for all students from rural backgrounds - and not just for SC/ST students -- and were conducted last year too," Prasad had said. But notice, which till Wednesday night specifically asked SC/ST students to come for the special classes, was late Thursday replaced on the IIT-JEE website by a mechanism for any student - and not just SC/ST or rural students - to enroll for the classes.
Titled a "social enrichment programme", the special classes are to be conducted by the Thiruvananthapuram-based Centre for Research and Education for Social Transformation (CREST). "It is good that the IIT has withdrawn the notice, but such incidents leave me wondering about the mindset behind such notices," Rajesh Kumar, an SC candidate said.
The classes will be held a week before the academic session officially starts at the IIT on July 17. None of the other IITs are holding such classes.