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48 hours after slapping code, IIT-Bombay on the back foot

48 hours after slapping code, IIT-Bombay on the back foot

Mumbai: After a huge furore over its 15-point 'Code of Conduct' (CoC) of January 28 cautioning students to keep off "anti-national and anti-social" activities, the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-Bombay) administration went on the back foot and attempted a damage control.

In a late Thursday statement, it said: "IIT-Bombay wishes to clarify that (it) is not against any peaceful expression of opinion in an individual capacity. The Institute is strictly apolitical in its views and does not endorse any political ideology."

However, any student is free to express his/her opinion in the individual capacity, as per rights and responsibilities enshrined in the Constitution, the IIT-Bombay said.

It reiterated that the January 28 circular was "standard and existing rules for hostels assimilated from all IITs and was sent to all students to remind them to abide by the rules, not disturb peaceful academic atmosphere within the hostels and academic areas."

The IIT-Bombay added that the circular was sent "in consultation with the Student Council" which comprises of elected student representatives.

It added that the IIT-Bombay is recognised as one of the top centres of academic excellence in the country, with a purpose to produce high-quality research and manpower for the benefit of the citizens and the country.

Justifying the circular, the IIT-Bombay said that the CoC is signed by the students at the time of joining the institute, and provided links of the document for Mumbai and IIT-Madras hostels.

Meanwhile, the Nationalist Congress Party's Youth Wing chief Amol Matele has written to the IIT-Bombay authorities to immediately revoke the January 28 circular, while Students for Change of IIT-BHU issued a statement on Friday supporting the IIT-Bombay fraternity.

Among other things, the 15-point circular of the IIT-Bombay shocked the academic fraternity by asking the students to keep off 'any anti-national, anti-social, and/or any other undesirable activities without qualifying the same, barred posters or distributing leaflets/pamphlets, speeches, plays, music or any such activity that disturbed the peaceful hostel environment.

The IIT-Bombay has been in the limelight since the past couple of months as there have been several demonstrations opposing/supporting the CAA-NRC-NPR, supporting the agitations in the Jamia Millia Islamia, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Aligarh Muslim University and thousands of students took out a unique Tiranga Rally carrying a 1,000-feet long Tricolour on January 26.

With 11,000 students studying or living in the 17 hostels, the January 28 order was seen in the light of a collective called 'IIT-Bombay for Justice' comprising four different groups -- Ambedkar-Periyar-Phule Study Circle, Northeast Collective, Ambedkar Students Collective and Charchavedi -- which organise regular protests in solidarity with their counterparts in other universities around the country.

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