news Wednesday, April 08, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute| April 5, 2015| 03.00 pm IST Entering its sixth day of protests, students of the IIT Jodhpur are on an indefinite protest to oust its director of two years over allegations of “dictatorship, autocracy and favouritism”. Emphasizing on the lack of faculty members at the institute, students say that of the total faculty required which is over 90, only forty three teachers are present - a situation that Dr. Murthy, the Director of IIT Jodhpur is accused of creating. “Due to his dictatorial mindset, which is intolerant of any criticism, faculty attrition has increased like never before. Eight faculty members have resigned and nine faculty members have been terminated,” wrote a representative of the college's Action Committee.  Post-graduate students were the most affected from termination of faculty as they were left to fend for themselves without mentors in different research subjects.  “Over the past one and half years, there have been many instances of dictatorship, autocracy, favoritism due to which many faculty and staff have been terminated senselessly and many have left the Institute bearing pressure due to non-conducive environment created by Director Sir in IIT Jodhpur,” said the representative in an email conversation with The News Minute. . The protests took on a more serious turn after students appealed to President Pranab Mukherjee and the HRD ministry to remove the director from his post, after the termination of a well-accomplished faculty member Ganesh Bagler on 29 March 2015, in a petition signed by around 770 students. “This takes away the very democratic right to choose and to make electoral choices. The students are not allowed to post anything about the Institute on social media, a curb on their freedom of speech. They are also not allowed to protest against the Institute or voice their opinion against the administration,” wrote students in a letter to the Ministry of Human Resource Development.  Students also went on to cite more instances of student harassment saying that their fundamental right had been violated by forcing them to sign a ‘regressive’ code of conduct which was aligning to the director’s advantage.  The code of conduct prevented students and staff from either contacting the media or from airing their views on social media . It also prohibited them from being a part of any political party.  As a sign of protest, a candle march was held on Saturday night with students dressed in black . According to reports, even though the college has collectively launched an online Twitter campaign demanding the director’s removal, it alleged that the administration had censored the campus’ wifi network.  Amongst a host of other protests, the removal of two courses ‘System Science’ and ‘Inspired Science’, two unique subjects had been removed, reported PTI - a move that reportedly affected at least a 100 students . According to the representative of the Action Committee, the number of faculty at the IITJ was lesser even prior to Dr. Murthy’s appointment. But according to them, “hiring was happening smoothly, and faculty numbers increasing. After Dr. Murthy took charge, over the past 1.5 years, only 3 faculty members have been recruited (not because there are no applicants).” On April 4, the Director responded to students appealing to them to return to regular classes. He then went on to invite students to “discussions after class hours, either in my office or at a venue in your residential areas, to discuss objectively any outstanding issue that is affecting the smooth functioning of academics at the Institute. “

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