A senior assistant director of NIFT Chennai has accused director Anitha Manohar of transferring his office, and giving the space to an ‘upper’ caste Research Assistant.

NIFT Director Anitha Mabel ManoharNIFT
news Crime Thursday, May 26, 2022 - 15:55

After the director of Chennai National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) was booked by the Taramani police under the SC/ST Act based on allegations of caste discrimination against a colleague, Anitha Mabel Manohar has moved the Madras High Court to quash the case. The complaint was filed by K Ilanchezhian, a senior assistant director at the institute, on charges that his office was allegedly shifted to the students’ hostel, and his original space given to an ‘upper’ caste research assistant. Based on his complaint, a First Information Report (FIR) has been registered by the Taramani police.

As per The Hindu, Anitha, in her petition, has said that the transfer was based on a confidential communication from the institute's vigilance department. “He was transferred from the post of Assistant Director (Administration, Purchase and Establishment) to the post of Assistant Director (civil and electricals) in the same campus. The transfer was made with the concurrence of the head office,” she claimed.

However, Ilanchezhian alleged that he was “humiliated” by the director, as his office was shifted from the main building to the hostel building. As per the Times of India, the FIR also states that that he was harassed by her previously, and she filed a sexual harassment complaint against him, which was found false by the institute’s Internal Complaints Committee.

This is not the first time that officials of higher educational institution have been accused of caste discrimination in Tamil Nadu. Vipin V Veetil quit IIT-Madras on January 19 for the second time after rejoining as assistant professor at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) of IIT-M in August last year. A resignation letter Vipin wrote to the IIT-M management went viral on social media in early July 2020, causing massive public outrage. Vipin, in his mail stated that his sole reason to quit the institution was due to caste discrimination he faced from senior Brahmin faculty at the HSS department.

He also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging caste discrimination since his joining IIT-M in March 2019, and subsequent harassment by senior Brahmin faculty ever since he decided to expose a series of targeted incidents against him.

Earlier in January 2022, Vipin quit his job for the second time after rejoining in August 2020. The students of the department, in April this year, expressed their solidarity with the professor when the findings of a committee constituted by IIT Madras to probe allegations of caste-based discrimination against professor Vipin came out. The committee’s report had said that it found ‘‘no evidence of the decisions being biased due to caste discrimination, since most of the department faculty members had hardly interacted with Dr Veetil”.

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