Dalit students of IIMC complain about casteist comments, I&B to probe

A student of English Journalism at the institute has accused a fellow student of making derogatory remarks which he says has caused “severe distress” amidst the Dalit and Adivasi communities.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: February 4, 2016 2:11 am
IIMC-480 A student of English Journalism at the institute has accused a fellow student of making derogatory remarks which he says has caused “severe distress” amidst the Dalit and Adivasi communities.

THE INFORMATION and Broadcasting Ministry has ordered a probe into allegations of derogatory remarks against Dalits and Adivasis posted on social media by a student at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC).

After some students raised the issue with IIMC authorities, one of them has approached the National Commission of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes with a formal petition.

“The matter was brought to our notice on Tuesday by an IIMC official. Joint secretary Mihir Kumar Singh, who is also the administrative joint secretary for IIMC, has been asked to inquire into it and submit a report to the ministry by February 10,” a senior I&B official told The Indian Express.

In his complaint to the national commission, Prashant Kanojia — a student of English Journalism at the institute — has accused a fellow student of making derogatory remarks which he says caused “severe distress” amid Dalits and Adivasis.

“Dalits were abused in these Facebook posts. And then, there were students who started supporting these abusive posts. We filed a complaint with the IIMC authorities but realised that the institute does not have a mechanism in place to deal with something like this,” Kanojia said.

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The institute approached the ministry after 17 Dalit and Adivasi students wrote to its authorities asking for “sensitisation classes” to prevent the spreading of “ill will” against SC/ST students.

In the aftermath of the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in the University of Hyderabad, SC/ST students of IIMC had spoken against caste discrimination and expressed solidarity with the students. As a result, they said, they were subjected to “derogatory” and “casteist” remarks, along with an abusive Facebook post by a fellow student.

“In the Facebook post, the student alleged that those speaking on Dalit issues were politicising the issue and were responsible for perpetuating the caste system by taking advantage of reservations, which are given as “bheekh” (alms) to the lower castes,” said a student, and a signatory to the letter.

The students said they wrote two letters — dated January 29 and February 1 — to IIMC authorities as well as the Ministry of Social Justice, and Ministry of Tribal Affairs, asking for sensitisation classes.

In their letter to the IIMC administration on February 1, the aggrieved students had pointed out that social media had been flooded with hashtags supporting the “perpetrator” and that “freedom of speech and expression” was being used to defend the abusive and derogatory remarks.

“Comments are being passed and remarks made aloud when the students pass through the corridors in the college and hostels. We would be forced to take legal recourse against our will, if things continue the same way because of the prevailing tension we aren’t able to focus on studies (sic),” reads the letter.

“We do not want any punitive action except a public apology and undertaking against the person writing or spreading such messages, we would beg to request a slot in the academic timetable to be allocated for sensitizing of all the students by experts in the field of Caste/Tribe reality and affirmative action, to promote amicability and inclusivity on campus,” it reads.

IIMC officials said that “quick and proactive” actions had been taken as soon as the letter was received. “We’ve put forward a proposal to set up a committee to look into the matter and deliberate on the demands of the students. There were meetings of the faculty called immediately, and both parties were heard. The students who had complained also seemed to be satisfied with the steps taken,” said a senior official, who did not wish to be named.

A faculty member said the student who posted the derogatory comment has apologised. “He kept saying that that he was from Varanasi and that the use of abusive language was common there. But the point is that this not about one person, there are others like him who can’t seem to digest Dalits and Adivasis speaking up for themselves,” said the faculty member.

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  1. S
    Sirius
    Feb 4, 2016 at 10:26 am
    Ref : "19,000 graduates and post-graduates apply for Sweeper jobs" Jan 25, 2016
    Reply
    1. S
      Sirius
      Feb 4, 2016 at 10:16 am
      So Mr. Mitra, why should it be mandatory to agree (under pain of incarceration) with Dr. Babasaheb's views? Today, can anybody disagree publicly ?
      Reply
      1. S
        Sirius
        Feb 3, 2016 at 4:52 pm
        Upper caste bashing begins yet again ! Mea Culpa by definition ! I have to pay the price for imaginary atrocities committed by my ancestors ....
        Reply
        1. A
          amit
          Feb 4, 2016 at 8:29 am
          what about right to express his views about IIM C student
          Reply
          1. A
            arc
            Feb 3, 2016 at 5:04 pm
            @sirius. Imaginary atrocities committed by ancestors? You ate living in the age of your ancestors. Or you are blind. In short a sanghi monster.
            Reply
            1. A
              arc
              Feb 3, 2016 at 4:39 pm
              Chaddi upper castes at work again, after Hyderabad. Incredible India. Now govt stooges will howl "Not dalits not dalits."
              Reply
              1. B
                babablacksheep
                Feb 4, 2016 at 3:21 am
                PM excused bad language as lady mp was from rural area not his bhakt using the same excuse: I am from varanasi so bad language we iuse...
                Reply
                1. K
                  Karunakaran
                  Feb 4, 2016 at 7:51 am
                  A Dalit is forced to clean the toilets of people in the cities, clear garbage, clear dead animals, do the jobs that other Indians would not go near. When you start cleaning the toiltes of the pople in the cities, you can advise Dalits to be just Indians. They have been trying to be just Indians for centuries, but the upper castes require toilet cleaners, garbage cleaners, etc. Regardless, 200 million Dalits have have had enough of the baniya hoodwinking. Now they will vote for Congress, JD(U), AAP - as these are committed to make the Dalits normal Indians!
                  Reply
                  1. R
                    Raj
                    Feb 3, 2016 at 10:25 pm
                    Its called freedom of speech. How is it that you can call names and get all riled up when others do.
                    Reply
                    1. R
                      Raj
                      Feb 3, 2016 at 10:26 pm
                      What happened to freedom of speech. If you disagree with me ignore me. You want a law for that too ?
                      Reply
                      1. M
                        mumbikar
                        Feb 4, 2016 at 8:03 am
                        must be ABVP students who started the post, but that will never be probed !!!! they are well supported by the BJP and RSS thugs ( thugs in uniform as well )
                        Reply
                        1. O
                          Observer
                          Feb 4, 2016 at 10:42 am
                          One inherits both benefits as well as liabilities of one's ancestors. You cannot say I will enjoy the benefits and disown the liabilities. Those IIMC students who are lucky to have been born into educated or well-off or socially forward families should have the humility to accept that not everyone is born so lucky!
                          Reply
                          1. S
                            Shyamal Ganguly
                            Feb 4, 2016 at 4:46 pm
                            I agree with you. We have to increase our level of insensitivity. Just as much Dalits, Shudras, Muslims have the rights to denigrate the Hindus and their Idols, we all have the same rights to challenge ISLAMIC QURAN and SC/ST OBC backwardness and Gaon-Buddha system of KHAP and other village mangers of India. It should be a level field to argue and have discourse. I believe the ROHIT Vemula could not handle his position in the society, he was a psycho and took his own life. THAT IS MY BELIEF.
                            Reply
                            1. S
                              Shyamal Ganguly
                              Feb 4, 2016 at 5:49 am
                              Rohit Vemula did this post in FB on January 8. This tells me about the mindset of the so called Shudras of India. Rohit wrote: "‘Vivekananda is a apologist of caste system, misogynist and a fake intellectual. He is an overrated, half witted person who has no scientific references to his rants, there was no actual and original ideas or knowledge production from this guy. I am surprised and disappointed at the kind of insutionalized celebration of his birthday in HCU." do I want to support Rohit ? NO WAY.
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                Shyamal Ganguly
                                Feb 4, 2016 at 4:50 pm
                                There are 4 main occupational castes. BRAHMIN, KSHATRIYA, VAISHYA and SHUDRA. Intellectuals, Administration and Military, Trades and Commerce and Workers. You can ever get away from belonging in one of these groups. You can migrate from one to another - but that requires effort.
                                Reply
                                1. M
                                  Mitra
                                  Feb 4, 2016 at 6:26 am
                                  You may not agree with his views, but if you believe in democracy you have to support his right to express his views. Is it written in the Indian Consution that everyone has to respect Vivekananda or anyone else? Sangh Parivar always abused hi until recently, so what? No one said they have to agree with hi. You know how Dalits were treated in our country for thousands of years, right? Do you expect them to worship Hindu religious figures like you do?
                                  Reply
                                  1. T
                                    Test Test
                                    Feb 4, 2016 at 4:58 am
                                    While I am totally against casteism it looks to me that people are just utilizing this as an excuse to cause pain to others.
                                    Reply
                                    1. V
                                      Victor
                                      Feb 4, 2016 at 9:33 am
                                      How much discrimination going on in Kerala, in hundreds of schools, run by Muslim and Christian management, where Hindu teachers and Hindu students are barred from putting 'Bindi' on forehead, forced to go church, forced to go in green uniform, green sari. Are there any takers for this intolerance in these schools? None ! Because both the sects are strongly repreesented in the govt and both LDF and UDF bat for them.
                                      Reply
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