Listen to this article:
New Delhi: The IIT Madras assistant professor who quit alleging caste discrimination has written an open letter to the Union education demanding that his former department head step down so that a fair probe can be conducted into his allegation, The News Minute has reported.
Following Vipin V. Veetil’s complaint to the grievance committee, IIT Madras had formed a three-member panel to investigate the issue.
Veetil has said in his letter that the Humanities and Social Sciences head-of-department Jyotirmaya Tripati is “liaising between the investigating committee and the faculty members of the department.”
In an interview to The Wire, the professor had spoken of the inherent casteism in the everyday practices of the institution and its lack of a grievance redressal system.
“I have now filed a complaint with the institute’s grievance committee. But I got to know this committee only after I worked here for two years and four months. And I got to know through personal efforts while I was trying to file a complaint with the OBC commission – which I have done now as well,” he had told The Wire.
Veetil had accused Tripati of caste discrimination and in the letter, has noted that communication to the director of IIT Madras, asking Tripati to step down while the investigation is in progress did not yield results. Tripati’s sustained presence close to the investigation will hamper the probe, noted Veetil, who also feared that other teachers might find it difficult to speak out for the same reason.
“…[T]he faculty members interviewed by the committee depend on the Head of the Department for promotions, research grants, and access to resources. Mr. Tripati coordinating the investigation sends the ‘wrong’ signals to members of the Department,” Veetil wrote.
He has thus asked for already conducted interviews to be redone after Tripati steps down.
Veetil calls out the deeper rot in the institution ignoring his letter, which he says is the “subjugation of truth, justice, and scholarship by caste. A subjugation which is maintained with administrative structures that reproduce themselves.”
He calls for affirmative action at the highest levels of administration to wipe out this systemic oppression, saying that the director to succeed the current one should be from the Scheduled Castes, Schedule Tribes or Other Backward Classes,
News Minute has noted that Veetil is expected to rejoin IIT Madras.
The National Commission for Other Backward Classes is also conducting an investigation based on his complaint.