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Action Against IIT Guwahati Students for Supporting Teacher Who Raised Graft Charges

PTI

Last Updated: January 21, 2020, 21:03 IST

(Image for representation only)

(Image for representation only)

Rai was given "compulsory retirement" through an IIT-G order on January 1 for his alleged "misconduct" on three counts - an altercation with a fellow faculty member, writing an email to ISRO without maintaining the official protocol and dereliction of duty.

Guwahati: The IIT-Guwahati has initiated disciplinary proceedings against nine students for organising a protest march and a hunger strike in support of a faculty member who was given "compulsory retirement" for raising several corruption charges against the institute.

Issuing notices to the students on Monday, the Assistant Registrar of Students' Affairs of the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati asked them to appear before a
committee on Wednesday.

"As directed, you are advised to attend an SDC meeting to be held in the office of the Dean of Students' Affairs on 22.01.2020 at 5 PM (in connection with Protest March by students on 17.11.2019 and recent hunger strike) where your presence and disposition is considered necessary," an email to the students said.

Vikrant Singh, one of the students who was served the notice, shot back a reply stating that protest is a constitutional right of every citizen and "as such, calling an SDC (students' disciplinary committee) for peaceful protest is against the law of the land and also contempt of the court".

Students at the IIT-G have been protesting against the disciplinary action taken against Brijesh Kumar Rai, an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department, after he raised corruption charges against the administration and filed hundreds of RTIs.

Rai was given "compulsory retirement" through an IIT-G order on January 1 for his alleged "misconduct" on three counts -- an altercation with a fellow faculty member, writing an email to ISRO without maintaining the official protocol and a complaint in January 2018 by his department head alleging dereliction of duty.

Protesting against this order, Singh along with another student Himanchal Singh sat on an indefinite hunger strike from January 4 and they were admitted to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital after three days when their condition deteriorated.

Immediately after they began the hunger strike, IIT-G Director T G Sitharam wrote a mail to the duo and warned them of action for "interfering in the disciplinary proceedings" against Rai.

"You both (students) are not supposed to interfere in the disciplinary proceedings followed through diligent process, failing which violation of student code of conduct as well as institute code will be applicable to you both," he said.

On November 17 last year, hundreds of students took out a candlelight march inside the campus in support of Rai and against any possible disciplinary action against him.

Meanwhile, Rai approached the Gauhati High Court on Monday and sought a stay order on his "compulsory retirement".

Rai joined the IIT-G in 2011 and has been raising questions over "irregularities" on the campus.

"I noticed various kinds of corruption taking place on the campus. When I started asking about them, the authority became vindictive... So far, I have filed around 200 RTI applications about various IITs, the MHRD and other education-related centres since 2015," Rai told PTI.

The IIT-G clarified its position on the corruption charges by Rai by uploading a statement on its official website and described the accusations as "baseless, unverified and his own assumptions" and said he filed "unnecessary" RTI applications.

"Wrongly accusing the institute and an external funding agency such as ISRO and violating the protocol of following official procedures", has been cited as one of the reasons for disciplinary action against him.

Another reason it mentioned was "Defaming theinstitute by posting social media posts regularly, filing unnecessary RTIs and PILs to waste time of the institute workforce, defame the institute administrators and policies and giving interviews to the media in an unauthorized manner".
first published:January 21, 2020, 21:03 IST
last updated:January 21, 2020, 21:03 IST