FB Post Against Dalits Stir Controversy At IIMC

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New Delhi: A Facebook post by a student of the Delhi campus of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) targeting the Dalits has stirred up a controversy, eventually leading to disquiet inside the institute premises.The post had come in the wake of the suicide of PhD scholar Rohith Vemula and subsequent unrest in the University of Hyderabad.

The complainant says that the whole issue was an atrocity on the Dalit students while the accused student has dubbed the entire episode to be a case of personal vendetta.”A student named Utkarsh Singh had used some objectionable words against the Dalits in his  Facebook post. In his Facebook post, he had also asked the Dalits to come into the mainstream. We are very much hurt with the ill-will that is being created in the institute,” Prashant Kanuajia, the complainant, told ANI.

Around 30 scheduled caste students, who complained to the administrative authorities on January 29, were reportedly told that there was no redress mechanism in the campus. “We had also informed the institute’s management about the issue but then we came to know that there is no such mechanism to deal with such issues,” Kanuajia said.

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He also said that there is no SC/ST or women cell in the institute, adding that it’s an atrocity on the Dalit community. “I did not think that the institute was serious about the issue and, therefore, I had to go to National Commission of Scheduled Caste,” he further said.

Meanwhile, Utkarsh Singh, the accused student who had lashed out at the group with his Facebook post containing derogatory and insulting remarks against the protesting students, said that it was just a personal vendetta. “This is not even an issue. It is just a personal vendetta. The controversy that has arisen on my Facebook post is a part of a conversation between me and my friend,” he said. “Efforts are being made to show that there are differences between the Dalits and the General category students in IIMC. But it is not true,” he added.

He also said that it was a conspiracy to target him as the matter was picked up 13 days after he made the post.”When I apologised then they asked for an action against me. My blog post was targeted for the language that was used in it,” he said.

At IIMC, the chain of events started when three faculty members and students organised a protest to express solidarity with Rohith Vemula, who took the extreme step on January 17. On January 18, Utkarsh Singh made a Facebook post containing derogatory and insulting remarks against the protesting students, a majority of whom belonged to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.