Protest on campus: IIT Guwahati takes undertaking from PhD scholar

A fourth-year PhD scholar at IIT Guwahati was asked to sign an undertaking that he will not take part in ‘any form of agitation or protest’, before he was allowed to resume his research at the institute.

A report in the Indian Express said that the PhD Scholar was under “suspended academic suspension” for one semester. When he returned to the campus, he was asked to sign a six-point undertaking.

The scholar faced “suspended academic expulsion” for participating in a hunger strike, along with a fellow student, from January 4-7, 2020.

On March 16, last year, a 10-member disciplinary committee, comprising nine teachers and a student representative, decided that the scholar be put on “suspended academic expulsion” for one semester.

Four days later, the scholar along with other students left the campus following the outbreak of COVID-19.

When the PhD scholar returned to the campus on March 4, he was allegedly forced to vacate his hostel room the next day, the Indian Express report said.

The report further said that, the registrar at IIT Guwahati sent a letter to the scholar on March 8 stating that he would be allowed to stay at the campus only if he signs an undertaking that lists six conditions.

“I shall neither take part in any form of agitation/ protest/ dharna inside or outside campus nor mobilise students for the same,” said the undertaking.

“I shall not post any messages in the social media platforms which will prove to be detrimental to the academic ambience of the institute,” it further said.

The undertaking also included an apology to the institute for “falsifying information” and posting it on social media. Any violation of the conditions could lead to his expulsion without notice, the undertaking reportedly said.

The Indian Express report added that they reached out to IIT Guwahati director but was told to contact the dean of public relations, branding and ranking instead. Later, a spokesperson of IIT Guwahati said that they would not respond to questions on the issue since the matter is sub-judice.

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