One out of every two general category students at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi admitted to have made casteist remarks intentionally or unintentionally, according to a survey conducted in 2019-’20, reported The Wire.
The results of the survey has come to light a month after a similar exercise to study the extent of caste discrimination on campus was suspended.
The survey had been circulated by the Board of Student Publications – the official student publication of the institute – after two Scheduled Castes students died by suicide on the campus in the last three months. It was withdrawn in September as the institute’s SC/ST Cell claimed that the survey did not go through official channels before distribution.
However, a survey conducted over three years ago, whose results were not allowed to be published on the institute’s website, has now painted a grim picture of caste discrimination on the campus.
Responses from 545 undergraduates from the general category, Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes revealed that 11% of students “know of professors/administrative staff who have made casteist comments”.
Further, 60% of the general category respondents said they felt it was unfair that the fee structure for students from the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes categories was different and that they could avail of facilities like a book bank.
The study also showed that 68% of the respondents from the reserved category who came from metro cities felt that their achievements were undervalued as compared to 24% of those from villages. It also showed that 88% of the Scheduled Castes students and 74% of the Scheduled Tribes students were hesitant to talk about their entrance examination rank or caste. The number stood at 46% for students from the Other Backward Classes category.
The students’ board elected for the year 2020-’21 had prepared a report based on the survey and shared it with the deans of student affairs and student welfare. However, V Ramgopal, the director of the institute from 2016-2022, has stated that his office “was never officially made aware of any such exercise conducted on campus”, reported The Hindu.
Students of the institute had demanded an investigation into alleged incidents of caste discrimination after Anil Kumar, a student of Bachelor of Technology in the Mathematics and Computing Department, died by suicide in September. Ayush Ashna of the same department had allegedly died by suicide in July.