IIT-B faculty frowns at ‘attempts to stifle dissent’

Mumbai, Feb 19 (IANS) The faculty of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) on Friday extended support to Jawaharlal Nehru University students and condemned “attempts by the State to stifle dissent in educational institutions and campuses”.

“We are deeply concerned over the recent events that have undermined the autonomy of institutions of higher education in this country. We believe that these institutions are spaces of critical thinking and expression. Matters of contention that might arise in the conduct of intellectual and social engagements need to be addressed democratically and rationally,” they said in a statement issued here.

The statement said the State cannot ‘dictate’ on the many meanings of what it is to be an Indian or mandate the meaning of ‘nationalism,’ and frowned upon the ‘overreach’ of the State in various educational institutions and campuses in the country.

“Rather, the State should be the one that makes sure that multiple ways of imagining one’s relationship with the nation are allowed to flourish, especially when it might contradict dominant ways of thinking,” said the statement signed by 42 faculty members.

“These methods in turn should be within the purview of institutional procedures that are responsible and accountable. We condemn the overreach of the State in the recent incidents in a number of institutions and the attempts of the right wing to stifle dissent and suppress differences,” they said.

They made it clear that the statement reflects the opinion of the signatory faculty and not of the prestigious IIT-B.

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