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'Irrelevant and insensitive': Caste-discrimination survey rolled back in IIT-Delhi after backlash

An official from the institute said that the survey was not cleared by official channels and that the faculty person had advised the BSP student members to consult the SC/ST cell which wasn't done.
Last Updated : 10 September 2023, 02:14 IST
Last Updated : 10 September 2023, 02:14 IST

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Soon after the suicide of two Scheduled Caste (SC) students at IIT-Delhi, a caste discrimination survey announced across campus was suspended as several students questioned the nature and intent behind the questions posed in the survey.

The survey in question was circulated by the Board for Student Publications (BSP) earlier this week and was taken down in a few hours after facing backlash.

As per a report in The Indian Express some students called the questions in the survey "irrelevant and insensitive".

One student, on condition of anonymity told the publication that a survey question asked them about the institute’s reservation policy where students had to choose among the following responses: support its current form, replace with a new policy completely based on economic conditions, reservations should be abolished or prefer not to answer.

The student said the fourth option should not have been put there as there was no harm in speaking about the reservation policy openly.

There were some other questions related to students' family income, whether they belonged to a rural or an urban background, the year they were admitted to the institute and the degree they were pursuing.

One question reportedly read, "Suppose you’re hanging out with your peers in your hostel common room and someone makes a comment that a person from the reserved category ‘had it easier’ or something similar. How common is this in your peer group?"

Responding to the backlash, the SC/ST cell liaison officer at IIT-Delhi, Pravin Ingole said that they were looking into the matter.

"The SC/ST cell is looking into it and we are in the process of releasing a new survey along with the BSP through official channels soon."

An official from the institute said that the survey had not been cleared by official channels and that a faculty person had advised the BSP student members to consult the SC/ST cell but it wasn't done prior to the survey release.

The BSP student head, however said that the survey was floated to understand the status of discrimination based on caste but was withdrawn after complaints.

"BSP is currently engaging with the SC/ST cell to plan a new survey which will be released in the near future," IE quoted the student as saying.

A 21-year-old engineering student had allegedly died by suicide in his hostel room at IIT- Delhi last week. Before that, another student had also met with the same fate in August.

The student head added that the survey, that now remains withdrawn, had no relation with the suicide case at the IIT-Delhi campus. “Rather, it is to get a general idea of casteism on campus. Work and planning for the survey started a couple of months back, she said.

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Published 10 September 2023, 02:14 IST

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