Facebook page Vox Populi is run by students of IIT, Kanpur.
Facebook page Vox Populi is run by students of IIT, Kanpur.

IIT-K students remove FB article supporting Jamia counterparts as institute finds it ‘objectionable’

By Rajeev Mullick, Lucknow
PUBLISHED ON DEC 28, 2019 04:53 PM IST

Students of the Indian Institute of Technology- Kanpur (IIT-K) removed an article, which was in support of Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia students, from their online Facebook page Vox Populi after a directive from the institute administration.

The administration found the article ‘objectionable’.

The campus journalism body of IIT-K had written an article- ‘Don’t communalize the peaceful gathering at IIT Kanpur’. It was in support of the march organised by a section of IIT-K students on December 17, reciting Faiz’s ‘Hum Dekhenge’.

A few days ago, a video was circulated on social media in which the protesters were seen reciting lines from a poem by Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz- ‘Hum Dekhenge.’ A professor at IIT-Kanpur filed a complaint with the institute’s director against students for allegedly “spreading hate against India”.

“The editorial of the online Facebook page Vox Populi was the opinion of the editorial board on the issue around the December 17 march. As a team, we stand by every word in our editorial, but as per instructions, we have to take it down. This is the first time since the launch of the online edition of Vox Populi that we are pulling down any article following instructions from the administration. Vox Populi published an editorial on December 21 on the same,” Vox Populi facebook page reads.

When contacted, IIT-K deputy director Prof Manindra Agarwal said on Friday, “Yes, we have asked both parties who protested and who registered complaint against the protest to restrain from precipitating the matter. We have asked Vox Populi editors to pull down the online content related to the protest. They were a little upset but complied. Once everything cools down, then I think we will be able to sort out the matter.”

He said the inquiry committee set up to probe the matter would take at least one week to hear both sides before coming up with its report. When asked if protesters were raising communal slogans, Agarwal said, “Protesters claimed they were reciting a poem penned by famous Urdu poet Faiz. In that poem there were a few lines which the professor felt were communal and purposely read out. This led to conflict.”

The video also shows students carrying placards that read: “Tumhari laathi aur goli se tez hamari awaaz hai” (our voice is louder than your sticks and bullets). Another placard read, “IIT-Kanpur condemns police brutality on Jamia & AMU students. Shame on Delhi police”.

A faculty of the institute has submitted a video of the protest and given a written complaint to director Prof Abhay Karandikar demanding action against the protesters.

When contacted, the IIT-K director said, “We have constituted a high level committee to inquire into the incident. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty. We would like students to stay calm and desist from using offensive language.”

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