Months after the death of first-year student Darshan Solanki, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) has issued a directive to its students, stating that it is inappropriate to inquire about someone's JEE Advanced rank, GATE score, or any other information that may reveal their caste or related aspects.
The directive, which comes in response to allegations of caste-based discrimination on campus, has sparked outrage on social media.
The institute's notification on anti-discrimination guidelines, which has been made public ahead of the new academic year, explains that asking for someone's rank could be seen as an attempt to determine their caste and may contribute to discriminatory behavior.
The notification has been circulated among students and posted in various locations on campus, particularly in the hostel areas.
Supporters argue that it promotes equality and inclusivity by discouraging a caste-based approach to interactions.
However, critics argue that hiding rank information could hinder healthy academic discussions and mentorship.
According to the notification, even though the student asking the question may perceive it as innocent and driven by curiosity, it can have a negative impact on the other student.
The institute aims to foster a sense of unity among students, regardless of factors such as caste, religion, or socio-economic status, the notification further adds.
The death of Darshan Solanki brought attention to the issue of caste-based discrimination on IIT campuses. The practice of asking about JEE rank was a major concern raised by many, as it indicated whether a student was admitted under a reserved category.
Darshan's senior and sister alleged that his roommate had reduced interactions with him after learning his rank.
The institute's notification also includes guidelines to 'prevent' discrimination. It emphasizes that friendships should be based on commonalities such as shared interests, hobbies, or educational backgrounds.
The notification also prohibits the exchange of messages that are abusive, hateful, or discriminatory based on factors like caste, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. Violation of these guidelines can result in severe punishment.
Students have noted that this is the first time the institute has explicitly communicated about discrimination on campus.
In the past, anti-discrimination awareness focused more on addressing grievances and informing students about the appropriate channels for making complaints.
However, punishments for violations have not been clearly defined. Some guidelines were informally communicated during orientation sessions, but now they are being formalized.
The institute administration has also clarified that a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination has always been emphasized during orientation sessions for new undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Posters from various institute bodies and cells have also been displayed in hostels and departments.
This year, all the relevant content regarding anti-discrimination has been compiled into one poster and circulated to both new and existing students.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!