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Even as probe finds no ‘caste discrimination’ angle in IIT Bombay student suicide case, media and activists are trying to whip up a frenzy: Here is how

Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC) wrote in a tweet thread, "Asking rank has been a tactic used by Savarnas to mark SC/ST students and harass them."

For days now, ‘activists’ have been trying to paint the unfortunate suicide of an IIT Bombay student as a case of caste discrimination, even though the probe into the incident did not find any caste angle.

Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC) wrote in a tweet thread, “Asking rank has been a tactic used by savarnas to mark SC/ST students and harass them. Despite the testimony by his senior, the committee hid it from the report and lied that he denied instances of discrimination.”

They added, using quotes from a report, “He told me that my roommate had reduced talking to me after knowing each other’s rank, and he also said that my roommate belongs to the General Category and does not discuss study. The senior had explained to Mr Solanki that there was no procedure to change hostel rooms and asked him to look to make other friends.”

“I suppose that he felt both loneliness and pressure of studies, then he took step suicide,” the tweet further said.

In a Hindustan Times report, a survey of SC/ST students was highlighted where the students from said communities claimed they do not feel comfortable discussing their caste on campus. The survey that was done by the SC/ST cell claimed that 21.6% of students said they feared backlash from students or faculty if they talked about caste discrimination.

Furthermore, the Dalit activists and organisations criticised the 12-member interim investigation committee report for calling the death a suicide. 

Leftist portal Newslaundry used the unfortunate incident to claim ‘caste discrimination’ because students were asked about their JEE rank at the institute. The report also mentioned the survey done by the SC/ST cell at IIT B. It also talked about the call recording of a student named Uday with another student Naveen where Uday claimed Darshan told him the roommate was ‘discriminating’ against him because of his low rank.

The report also included a statement by Uday Singh Meena, mentioning that Darshan told him his roommate reduced talking to him after learning about his rank. He also mentioned the roommate was a general-category student. He further added many students in the institute did not talk to him. “I suppose that he felt both loneliness and pressure of studies then he took step suicide”, he wrote in the end. Notably, though Uday mentioned the roommate was from the general category, the note nowhere hints at caste discrimination.

The internal panel ruled out caste discrimination

Earlier on March 6, it was reported that the interim report submitted by the committee on March 2 does not mention the statement. It instead reads, “A senior SC-ST student whose audio call recording was submitted to the committee by one of the student collectives denied any specific instance of caste-based discrimination faced by Darshan during direct deposition to the committee.”

The matter is linked to the death of Darshan Solanki, who allegedly committed suicide in February this year. On February 24, the Maharashtra Home department issued an order to transfer the investigation from the local Powai police station to the Crime Branch, just before the beginning of the state’s Budget Session on Monday. The student’s family has claimed that Darshan Solanki was subjected to ‘caste discrimination’, which ultimately drove him to take his own life.

The internal committee’s report mentioned that Darshan has got poor marks and may have been worried about his deteriorating academic performance.

Reports suggest Darshan jumped from the refuge area of the IIT-Bombay hostel building on February 12 at around 1 pm. He hailed from Ahmedabad and joined the institute for a B-Tech course three and a half months before the incident.

Soon after Darshan’s death, popular Dalit activists and organisations on social media deemed Darshan’s suicide “institutional murder”, adding that Rohit Vemula, Payal Tadvi, and Darshan were all victims of “harassment, discrimination and casteism”.

As per a senior officer of the Mumbai Police, the investigation has been moved to the Mumbai Crime Branch. An SIT has been created under the guidance of Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Lakhmi Gautam, with DCP (Detection) KK Upadhyay and ACP (Santacruz Division) Chandrakant Bhosle. At the same time, additional members may be included later.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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