Published: 13th February 2020
No place for free speech? Researchers accuse authorities at IIT Kharagpur of calling off citizenship debate
They said they were given permission to organise the programme at the IIT employees-run staff club within the campus, but later informed that it had been withdrawn for unknown reasons
A group of research scholars of IIT Kharagpur on Thursday claimed that a discussion on the issue of citizenship on the campus had to be called off, after permission for holding the programme was withdrawn.
A spokesperson of research body Education Group said, initially they were given the permission to organise the programme at the IIT employees-run staff club within the campus on February 12.
However, they were informed by the club on Tuesday that it had been withdrawn for "some reasons".
"We were informally told that discussions on such a contentious issue cannot be held within the campus area as per the instructions from higher authorities of IIT Kharagpur," she said.
IIT Kharagpur officials did not wish to talk about it but a faculty, not willing to be named, said, it had nothing to do with the 'pro-Centre' or 'anti-Centre' policy of the premier educational institute.
"Our policy is not to allow any programme which may trigger tension, division and untoward incident within the campus.
"The researchers are free to organise the programme outside the campus," he said.
The spokesperson of the research body said that it would have been a general academic discourse on the issue of identity and citizenship without directly referring to the controversy involving the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register.
"We had invited three speakers and none of them was politicians," she said.
Ranjit Sur, a rights activist who had been invited as a speaker, said, "This is a knee-jerk response from IIT Kharagpur which shows they are not willing to allow debate on contemporary issues on the campus.