Published: 21st October 2021
If IITM doesn't reopen Krishna gate in a month, we will break down the wall: Congress MLA Selvaperunthagai
The Congress MLA who represents Sriperumbudur was recently in the news for staging a protest demanding that the IIT Madras administration take down the wall that it had built in front of Krishna Gate
K Selvaperunthagai says he is not ready to back down. The Congress MLA who represents Sriperumbudur was recently in the news for staging a protest demanding that the IIT Madras administration take down the wall that it had built in front of Krishna Gate, which linked the institute to Velachery, a neighbourhood in Chennai. He now says that if the institute does not reopen the gate, activists, along with locals will break the wall down.
The gate, which is almost as old as the IIT (62 years) was shut down in December 2019, citing a 'heightened security threat' from 'undesirable elements'. However, there has been a lot of resistance against this, especially from students and anti-caste activists, who said that it had affected the livelihoods of many who live around the area. "Almost 90 per cent of the residents of that area are Dalits. They have been using it to enter the institute premises and access schools inside the campus," says the MLA, adding, "A lot of these students had gotten enrolled into these schools under the RTE. But now, they will have to travel extra kilometres to go to school."
Calling the gate's closure 'new-age untouchability', Selvaperunthagai said that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin too had promised a resolution in this matter soon. "We (Congress) had filed an RTI, seeking the reason behind the gate's closure and the IIT only said 'administrative reasons'. They now have a month. If the issue isn't resolved within that time, we will launch a larger protest with the locals and demolish the wall," he says.
Following the gate's closure, until the lockdown, the IIT witnessed a series of protests in this matter. Following this, DMK MP Thamizhachi Thangapandian had met the then Minister of Human Resource Development Ramesh Pokhriyal and hand handed over a letter, seeking a quick resolution.