“Ayush Ashna SC not ST,” claims APPSC as students unite for candle march at IIT Delhi today

The tragic death of Ayush Ashna, a final year BTEch student belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC) category, was discovered in his hostel room on Sunday, July 9
Pic: EdexLive
Pic: EdexLive

In a passionate plea, the Ambedkar Student Collective of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD) raised a crucial question: "How long will you continue to kill us in your Agrahas?" By drawing a parallel between IIT Delhi and "Agrahas," land grants historically given to Brahmins for their sustenance, the collective strongly criticised the institute for once again failing its marginalised students.

The tragic death of Ayush Ashna, a final year BTEch student belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC) category, was discovered in his hostel room on Sunday, July 9. His demise has reignited the ongoing controversy surrounding the lack of inclusivity within IIT campuses. In a united pursuit of justice and solidarity for the deceased, the APPSC (Ambedkar Phule Periyar Study Circle) has called for a candle march today, July 13, 7 pm, at Red Square in IITD.

One concerned student expressed their thoughts on the incident, saying,"The email we received from the administration did not mention suicide or reveal the identity of the student. It was only later that the Ambedkar collective discovered that the student belonged to a marginalised community. Even during the condolence meeting yesterday, the administration continually tried to evade responsibility by labelling the student as introverted, despite their lack of personal knowledge about the boy."

In a statement released by the APPSC, it was claimed that the institute deliberately concealed the identity of the boy, referring to it as an "untimely demise". However, informal sources have allegedly revealed to the Ambedkar collective that Ayush was a Dalit, an SC student from Bareilly, and not an ST student as initially assumed and communicated. The APPSC emphasised in their statement,  “The extent to which his identity has been kept in the dark shows how institutional casteism functions. Just depoliticise the death of a marginalised student, call it ‘suicide’, and close the case.” 

The police have alleged that Ayush's death was a suicide, although no suicide note has been found thus far. However, they do not suspect foul play. According to the APPSC, Ayush was found seated on the floor with a rope around his neck. All India Students' Association too is organising a candle march at 6 pm today, from IIT Delhi Gate 5. Other student organisations who are standing in solidarity with APPSC are Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association and Collective Delhi.

The loss of Ayush Ashna has once again sparked a critical conversation about the need for inclusivity and justice within IIT campuses. The outcry grows louder as the students unite today evening to march in solidarity with Ayush and other marginalised students that these premier institutes have failed over and over again. 

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