Mumbai: As per the Right to Information data accessed by Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC) in IIT Bombay, between the years 2015 to 2019, the institute had excluded Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Other Backward Caste students in high number and thereby giving upper hand consideration to general category. Sources said to Madhyamam that "there is rampant casual casteism happening on campus, and there is no mechanism in place to tap and stop it".
Earlier reports say that in 2015-2019, the applications received only 1.8per cent of ST candidates, 10.7per cent of SC candidates and 21.8per cent from OBC. 3773 students from SC,ST and OBC categories were denied seats.
The accessed data shows that general category students received more seats than the already allotted seats. In 26 departments, general category students got more than 60per cent of seats by overriding 50.5per cent allotted seats. Meanwhile, between the same years, SC, ST and OBC students did not receive an allotted reservation of 27per cent, 15per cent and 7.5per cent respectively which shows under-representation of backward caste students in India's reputed academic institution. The 26 departments including Aerospace engineering, Chemical engineering, Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Education Technology, SJM School of Management and physics have done clear violation of reservation as per the RTI data. Among this, departments like Mechanical engineering, Mathematics, Center for Policy Studies, Center for Nanotech and Science, Environmental Science, Resource Engineering and SJM School of Management did not provide any single seats to ST students over the years.
The data accessed also reveals that 168 ST students were denied their seats during the same years. Among 1522 Scheduled Tribe students who have applied, only 47 have been admitted between 2015 to 2019. It shows that more than 75per cent of ST seats were denied. Only a percentage of 1.64 students were admitted from the ST category against the reservation norms of 7.5per cent. In case of Scheduled Caste seats, two departments including SJM School of Management and Centre of Studies in Resource Engineering excluded SC students and 3 departments admitted only 1 SC student in between 5 years. RTI reveals that 12 departments admitted approximately less than 5 SC students from 2015 to 2019.
While speaking with Madhayamam, a student from IIT Bombay spoke about the problem of casteism existing in the institute. "Multiple order and layers of caste issue is prevalent in casual form as well as structurally. Violation of reservation policy is a clear case of structural issues present in institutions like IITs, which in the name of 'merit', deny admission to SC/DT/OBC students. This logic of 'merit' is nothing but a new way of practising caste discrimination. This logic has been institutionalized in the form of having cut-off marks on top of eligibility criteria. Data clearly shows that chances of getting selected if you are a General student are higher than if you are from SC, ST or OBC".
APSSC accessed the data recently from RTI and it reveals that "Almost 215 SC students were denied seats during the mentioned years. Among 8827 SC students who have applied, only 216 were admitted in 5 years. 7.5per cent of admitted students from SC against the reservation policy of 15per cent. The data further shows that half per cent of reservation seats were denied to SC students in IIT Bombay. In case of reservation of OBC, 223 backward caste students were denied seats. Among 17907 OBC students who have applied in IIT Bombay, only 553 were admitted in between 2015 to 2019. 19per cent of students from the OBC category admitted against the reservation norm of 27per cent.
Sources from IIT Bombay criticized the absence of a common periodical monitoring of the implementation in reservation policy each semester. "If the campus practices are more democratic and sensitive to caste and other forms of discrimination, more students will apply for the various courses. Over the years since 1973, how many seats are denied for SC/ST students? And how many have gone vacant for OBCs since 2008? At least can all IITs come forward and make the number public?" APSSC IIT Bombay questioned in an official statement.