Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) director S Parsuraman has asked his students not to get involved in the kind of student politics being played on the Delhi University (DU) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campuses.
In a letter to the students, Parsuraman said that ‘disruptive’ forces within and outside the institute were trying to create trouble in the name of ideology. He asked the students to be aware of them to avoid ‘difficulties’.
The students at the institute are known for being vocal about socio-economic issues related to students’ rights. Since last year, the students have been raising their voice against fee hike, reduction of scholarships for other backward category (OBC) students and surveillance cameras in the institute. More recently, some students protested the alleged attempts by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad to curb free speech on the campuses.
In his letter, Parsuraman wrote, “Almost every day, I get students complaining and crying bitterly over how they are being excluded because they are attached to a caste or religion. From what I hear, there may be elements feeding on all forms of discrimination, including reverse form.”
While assuring students that the institute will ensure that all students are treated with dignity, he suggested that the institute cannot ‘afford’ to get dragged into problems. “DU and JNU are very powerful institutes... TISS is a simple institution that is very hard to stay afloat,” read the letter.
Speaking to HT, Parasuraman said that \student politics impacted his responsibility of providing education and placements to the students. “Ninety-nine percent students are peaceful. Only a few with political inclinations create disturbance. The student’s job is to study. If you want to engage in political issues, get out of here,” he said, adding that students can express their opinions through writing.
The directive has not gone down well with many students who criticised it on social media. A student from TISS said that more than the row, the director was worried by the students’ protest against issues of TISS’ internal issue. “The students are struggling on the campuses across the country. The director is autocratically trying to hike the fees and not addressing the issues. He is worried that our protests will hit the funding of the institute, but I don’t feel that they will,” she said.