Resigned whistleblower Asst Prof rejoins IIT-M to take on caste discriminationtext_fields
Chennai: Vipin P Veetil, the Assistant Professor, who had resigned from Indian Institute Technology, Madras citing caste discrimination has withdrawn his resignation and is back at the premier institution to fight out the complaint he had lodged in July, reports The Quint.
According to the report, Veetil has also filed a fresh complaint with the OBC Commission in New Delhi, requesting the body to investigate the reported case of alleged caste discrimination.
The complaint dated 5th August says that his letter does not capture all of the discrimination he has faced at the department or the caste dynamics which regulates and shapes the lives of students and staffs from the marginalised communities at the institute. He adds that those issues will hopefully come up in the course of our interaction during the investigation.
Veetil, hailing from Payyannnur in North Kerala has been teaching at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) of IIT Madras since March 2019. He belongs to the Maniyani (OBC) caste.
The shocking mail of the Assistant Professor which had gone viral last month had created a huge furor in social media for which people across the spectrum of political leaders, writers, opinion-makers, and students have demanded a National Commission for Backward Classes probe into the alleged caste discrimination
The faculty member's fresh complaint about caste discrimination comes at a time when the Union Minister of Education Dharmendra Pradhan refuted the existence of caste or religious discrimination in IIT Madras. The Minister had on July 19, said before Lok Sabha that "IIT Madras does not discriminate on caste or religious basis" while answering a question raised by TR Balu, MP from Tamil Nadu's Sriperumbudur constituency.
Veetil's complaint also names senior faculties in IIT-M alleging that the then Head of the Department (HoD) with the support of the Chair professor denied him the opportunity to teach his own course in the institution while there is no rule which prevents a probationary faculty member from teaching their own course at IIT-M.
The complaint also claims that a few months later, a Brahmin faculty member who was on probation at the same department as him, was allowed to teach two new courses of his design.
He further alleged that none of the faculty members who had prevented him from teaching a new course prevented the Brahmin faculty member from teaching his courses during his probationary period.
Veetil has also demanded his HoD to temporarily step down from the position in his two-page letter to the OBC commission citing the reason that he can "tamper with evidence" (email correspondence and online discussions) and can "influence" other faculty members, says the report by Quint.
According to the report, one of the accused in the complaint who is the current head of the department, told that if Veetil "feels discriminated" then he "should go ahead and 'prove' it instead of writing emails".
The report also says that three among the four professors named in the complaint did not reply to queries while one professor denied the allegation.The complaint could possibly be the first of its kind, as it is a faculty member of the institute who has raised an allegation of caste discrimination before the OBC commission.
Meanwhile, on July 14th, an NEI report had quoted Arun Halder, vice-chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) saying that "no evidence of caste-based discrimination has been observed in IIT Madras".
According to the report members of the Commission did not received any complaints of caste-based discrimination from the students or staff from Scheduled Castes (SC) during the vice-chairman's visit to the institute,
Halder had visited IIT Madras on July 13th and held a meeting with the director and other members of the management following a complaint from the State General Secretary of Dalit Liberation Movement TN, S Karuppiah. The report also says that the NCSC Vice Chairman has also asked the institute to file a detailed report on the issue within 30 days.
Earlier, in 2019, Fathima Latheef, who was a student of Humanities at IIT Madras had committed suicide in her hostel room 2019 alleging that she was discriminated against by the college due to her religion. In her suicide note, she had also named a professor of IIT Madras regarding discrimination. A CBI investigation is ongoing on her suicide.