Published: 18th November 2019
Two IIT Madras students go on hunger strike, demand internal probe into Fathima's suicide
The students also demanded that the administration cooperate with Fathima's family and the police and conduct proper investigation into the conduct of the faculty
Two students from Chinta Bar, an independent student body in IIT Madras have launched a hunger strike demanding a proper internal investigation into the conduct of the faculty on campus. The student community has already submitted a list of demands to the administration but the students are not happy with the response they have gotten so far.
The students had made a few demands to the administration after the suicide of Fathima Latheef, one of which was for a fair, transparent and time-bound internal investigation. They also demanded that the administration cooperate with Fathima's family and the police and conduct a proper investigation into the conduct of the faculty. They had also asked for an external survey into the issues faced by the students inside the institute.
The student community has also asked for the implementation of minority students' grievance and welfare cell and for the Rohith Act to be enacted. ChintaBar also stated that some of these demands had been raised earlier by the official student body last semester itself but they had not been taken into account by the Dean of the director, in spite of 'having ample time'.
The students said that to their latest letter, only the dean had responded and not the director. "But he only responded to one of the demands which was for an external survey to take place to find out about the issues faced by the students. They did not respond to any of the other demands which is why we decided to go on this strike," Azhar M, a member of Chinta Bar said.
So far, only a few students are gathered at the IIT Madras gates as many are writing their exams. "About 200-250 students have signed the letter stating our demands. So we have their support. When the exams get over, we will be joined by them," he added. It was the collective decision of ChintaBar to get two people to start a hunger strike, "In case we get arrested or made to stop, others can continue the fast," the student said.
One of the students said that it was important for him to take up the strike, as he himself has suffered from depression, "But this is not just about the suicide, there needs to be an effective mechanism to check discrimination and any other student issues on campus."