The national scheduled castes panel has sent a notice to IIT Madras over the de-recognition by the premier technical institute of a students' group, several of whose members are from the Dalit community, allegedly following a complaint that it was critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Confirming the move while speaking to PTI today, National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) Chairman PL Punia said they have sought a reply from the institute.
"Youngsters must get freedom of speech on campuses. Extending bans thus is like suppressing their voices. This is completely wrong.
"I have issued a notice to the institute and sought its reply after taking note of the incident myself. We will take action in this regard," Punia said. He further accused the Centre of being "insensitive" towards the marginalised sections and claimed that the number of anti-Dalit incidents had increased ever since the Modi government had come to power.
"Such incidents have increased. These are not minor incidents, but serious ones," said Punia, who is a Congress Rajya Sabha MP. Referring to a clash earlier this month in Nagaur district in Rajasthan in which four persons were killed and seven others injured, Punia claimed that the local administration had not taken the issue seriously until he visited the spot.
"The district magistrate concerned had not visited the spot. When I visited the spot three days after the incident, only then did the DM accompany me. "This shows that the people in the government don't take such incidents seriously, likewise the lower rank officials," he said.
He urged Dalit organisations to come together against such incidents and added that NCSC, National Human Rights Commission and National Commission for Women need to look into these.
He also expressed concern over the NDA government slashing budgetary allocations for scheduled castes and minorities. A students' group, 'Ambedkar Periyar Students Circle', at IIT-Madras was "de-recognised" following allegations that it was spreading "hatred" against the Prime Minister.