Published: 17th February 2023
IIT-B student suicide: APPSC submit demands to the administration despite resistance from CSO
APPSC seeks the resignation of the institute director along with an investigation committee formed by at least 50 per cent SC/ST representation
The Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study (APPSC) cell of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B), submitted their demands to the administration of IIT-B today, February 17. "Finally the students managed to submit their demands to the administration of @iitbombay after being stopped by the Chief Security Officer (CSO) and security. Students held on to their demands fearlessly in spite of threats and intimidation. #JusticeForDarshanSolanki," they tweeted.
APPSC has alleged institutional murder and caste discrimination in the death of Dalit student Darshan Solanki, who jumped from his hostel building on February 12 and raised concerns about the lack of transparency in the investigation committee formed by the IIT administration. The student group has issued a statement with collective demands on behalf of the student community to ensure justice for Solanki. The statement includes a demand for an internal independent investigation to be carried out by the institution with at least 50 per cent presence of SC/ST representation on the committee, and for the committee to be headed by an SC/ST person and at least one external member
The statement also demands the immediate filing of an FIR to Powai Police Station to investigate the case under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act and Anti-Ragging Law, as well as the establishment of an SC/ST Students Cell with proper implementation of reservation in admissions and faculty recruitment. The demand for FIR comes after Solanki's roommate and family reportedly testified that he had been told that he was facing caste discrimination on campus.
"Transparency being the highest priority, the names and the terms of references of the committee need to be made public and there should be a public call for whoever wants to testify before the committee," reads the statement.
Furthermore, the student group has called for safe spaces for marginalized community students and the sensitization of all faculty on issues related to caste, gender, and mental health. They have also demanded the immediate resignation of the IIT Bombay director for failing to provide a safe space for the students and for the administration's lethargic attitude towards students' well-being on campus.
"In this light, we DEMAND THE IMMEDIATE RESIGNATION OF THE DIRECTOR for failing to provide a safe space for the students of the IIT Bombay, and for this degree of inactiveness, apathy, and lethargy for students' well-being on campus," the statement concludes.
On February 14, the university released a statement refuting the claims of an 'institutional murder' and lack of inclusive space on campus after the suicide of Solanki. The death sparked widespread outrage and has raised concerns about the mental health of students and the prevalence of caste-based discrimination on university campuses.