After director’s directive, anti-CAA protest continues at IIT-Bombay
A day after the director of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) directed students and faculty members to keep politics out of the campus, protests in the institute against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) continued on Thursday. The eighth session of the ongoing Preamble lecture series was delivered by professor Paulmi Chakraborty in the campus and was attended by students and faculty members.
Following widespread against CAA and the attack on students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), students and faculty members of IIT-B had started a Preamble lecture series on January 16 to talk about citizenship. On Wednesday, at an open house on the campus, IIT-B director Subhasis Chaudhuri asked students to express their political views outside the campus, and never make a statement using the name of the institute. This comes weeks after IIT-B issued a circular, asking employees to act according to its code of conduct and not make statements that may be construed as criticism against the Centre.
When asked about his statement, Chaudhuri said the open house is an internal matter of the institute. IIT-B refused to release any statement about it.
Students said the director had made it clear that IIT-B was a government-funded institute and an institute of eminence, with the primary purpose of producing top quality engineering graduates and research that could be of help to the society. “He [the director] said we can express our opinions, especially political ones, outside the campus as individuals, without using IIT-B’s name,” said a student. Another student, who participated in the protests, said: “The political/apolitical debate is farcical, because the questions before us [CAA and National Register of Citizens] are deeply political.”
Since January 6, when violence broke out on the JNU campus, staff members and students of IIT-B have participated in protest marches and discussions daily on campus. While IIT-B has not taken any action against the protesting staff members and students, a circular released on January 9 warned employees of disciplinary actions if they made any public statements that could “embarrass the relations” of the institute with the Centre.