A WEEK after the students union of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) condemned the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for alleged hooliganism in Ramjas College in Delhi, the director of TISS has asked students to stay away from ‘disruptive forces’ and stick to academics. In an email to all students of the institute on March 3, TISS director S Parasuraman wrote, “What is happening in Delhi University and JNU are very different.”
“TISS cannot afford to get dragged into problems — DU and JNU are very powerful institutions and they can afford to engage in matters of the kind that is happening there. TISS is a simple institution that is working very hard to stay afloat — do not get it trapped into difficulties,” the director’s email continued.
Parasuraman advised students to be aware of ‘disruptive persons’ within and outside the campus who wanted to create trouble in the name of ideologies.
The letter comes only a week after the institute’s student union issued a statement in support of the students of Delhi University.
The union had alleged that the ABVP’s motive was to suppress any discussion on issues of the marginalised.
“The TISS Students’ Union condemns the ABVP’s repeated attempts across the country to suppress democratic spaces and voices, and stands in solidarity with the students of Delhi University,” read the statement released by the students’ union.
Some students on the campus said that the letter from the director could be the result of several protests held on campus in the past few months.
“There have been emails before, but this one is different. In the past few months, the students have held mass protests on several issues, such as fee hike and biometrics. There have been open protests on the issue of the disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed in Delhi and the latest incident at Ramjas College,” said an M Phil student on the condition of anonymity.
“The mail is intended to threaten students out of this habit of protesting,” she said. Another student said they would continue to “raise their voices against discrimination.”
“As the director of the Institute, Dr Parasuraman has all the right to maintain discipline within the Institute. However, as social science students, we will protest and raise our voices against any kind of discrimination. It is necessary for students to engage in such discourse,” said a PhD scholar from the institute.