Published: 23rd August 2019
Shut down the lab or we'll break the computer: How AAP caused the closedown of IIT Guwahati for a day
The event occurred on January 8 and came to light after a video that exposes the footage of the harassment went viral
A group of researchers have written to the HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Home Minister Amit Shah and Principal Scientific Adviser to the PMO K VijayRaghavan, accusing a few members of the Aam Aadmi Party of creating a ruckus on the IIT Guwahati campus, calling for the institute's shut down. The complaint says that the AAP members entered the campus illegally and evacuated several students from laboratories while threatening them.
The incident that occurred on January 8, 2019, came to light only a few days ago, after a video that shows the footage of incidents went viral. They wanted the institute to be closed, owing to a protest against the NRC Bill in Assam. Here, a person believed to be an Aam Aadmi Party worker clad in a saffron kurta is seen walking into the labs and forcefully asking the students to shut down their computers. When they refused, he asks, "Computer thodu kya?" which translates to "Should I break the computers?" He is also heard commanding a student to not switch on the computer on that day.
Post the incident, the institute's Dean of Academic Affairs had issued a circular, informing the students that the institute will remain closed on that day. The supplementary exams that were scheduled to be held on that day were also cancelled. "One of the people who created a ruckus that day is Elvin Baruah, an AAP worker. He had posted the videos from that day on his Facebook profile," says a research scholar in IITG. "I was shocked to see that he even had a photograph with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal," he says.
The complaint that was filed on August 21 says that no enquiry was conducted on this issue. "Students are not safe inside government institutions if politically affiliated people can threaten the staff and students as per their wish at any time and place inside the campus. Government of India has a duty to ensure the safety of students and staff working in its institutions," reads the complaint. "It is our request to initiate a detailed probe into the matter, take punitive measures towards the culprits and tighten the security measures inside IIT Guwahati. Such events would be harmful not only towards the Institution but also towards the Government of India in the long run," it reads.
We have reached out to the AAP and will update the copy as soon as they respond.