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IIT firewalls anti-reservation strike

IIT-D is taking firm steps to prevent protests from taking on political hues.

india Updated: Jun 06, 2006 02:57 IST

After waves of forceful protests that took the Capital by storm, the anti-quota strike appears to be thinning out fast. IIT Delhi has now lined up firm measures to prevent the protests from taking on strong political colours.

The series of curbs imposed by the management aims at preventing the strike from spilling out of the institution and cutting off outside support. The institute has strictly barred entry of "outsiders", instructing security personnel to allow visitors only after ascertaining the purpose of visit. The administration is also learnt to have advised the students to refrain from drastic forms of protest like hungerstrikes.

The authorities, in a circular, have asked professors and the faculty to stay away from joining the striking students.

"The circular stated that being government servants, it would not be proper for us to take part in the agitation," a senior professor said.

On Sunday, around 50 children of faculty members and some professors held a rally within the IIT premises, supporting the students. But when the professors were asked to come on record to affirm their support to the students, they refused, fearing management's wrath.

"Even walking alongside the students is a big issue now," a professor said.

Some medical students from the Youth for Equality forum were turned away from the IIT gates over the past few days. "Many of our friends from Safdarjung Hospital had gone to express solidarity, but the security turned them away," said Neha from MAMC.

Avantika, an engineering student and daughter of an IIT faculty member, said, "A family friend, who had come to visit us, was not allowed in because his car had an anti-reservation sticker on it."

With the ongoing vacation and most postgraduate students in the last leg of their stay, the strike is a pale version of the 19-day agitation spearheaded by government doctors. "At any given time, you will not find more than 20 students at the strike site," Avantika claimed.

Manish, a PHD student, said the dean and the director took turns daily to talk students out of the movement. "Piling pressure, there are repeated phone calls to parents of students from the management," he claimed.

In yet another act of gagging, the management has turned down the students' request for permission to hold a debate on reservation with author Shiv Khera as the guest, scheduled for Tuesday. Dean of students, Professor SM Ishtiaque said: "There is no possibility of allowing absolutely political and biased speakers to enter and speak at the IIT," he said.

First Published: Jun 06, 2006 02:57 IST