Tuesday May 22, 2018
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Students’ discussion panel de-recognized by IIT Madras for criticizing PM Modi 

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

IIT Madras stirred a controversy by de-recognising a discussion panel for students that apparently tried to spread “hatred” against Prime Minister Narendra Modi by mobilizing SC/ST students to question government policies on the use of Hindi and the ban on cow slaughter.

Reportedly, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) made an inquiry after receiving an anonymous complaint against the activities of the Ambedkar Periyar Student Circle (APSC) on the IIT campus. The complainant had enclosed one of APSC’s pamphlets containing a copy of a speech, which criticized PM Modi’s government and its policies.

Times of India reported that the ‘controversial’ pamphlet that the MHRD forwarded was a reproduced speech by a Dravidian University academic, R Vivekandanda Gopal, on the “Contemporary relevance of Dr Ambedkar.” The event was organized by the APSC on the campus. The pamphlet reproduced portions of the speech in which the speaker had criticized the Modi regime for “pro-corporate” policies such as the Land Acquisition Bill and insurance and labor reforms. He had also accused the government of “communally polarizing” people by introducing a ban on cow slaughter and through ‘ghar wapsi’ programs.

As per the report, in the letter addressed to the IIT director dated May 15, Prisca Mathew, under secretary to the government of India, wrote, “I am directed to forward herewith a copy of anonymous letter alleging serious complaints received from students, IIT-Madras along with pamphlet issued by Ambedkar-Periyar study circle on the above mentioned subject and to request that comments of the institute may please be sent to this ministry at an early date.”

The IIT dean (for students), Sivakumar M Srinivasan, on May 24 in a concise email, informed the coordinators of the APSC that they had been “derecognized.”

Members of APSC, upset and enraged at this decision, pointed out that the HRD ministry’s action and the IIT’s decision to ban their activities was based on an anonymous complaint by right-wing groups and that they were denied a hearing. The group questioned that how an ‘anonymous’ letter can represent the majority opinion of the students of IIT-Madras.

“We object to the fact that the dean has derecognized our study circle unilaterally without giving us a fair hearing and an opportunity to represent ourselves. In our interaction with the dean of students, we have been told that our study circle engaged in “controversial activities” and violated the code of conduct of independent student bodies. We are clear in our stand that we have not misused any privileges given by the institute,” said a member of the APSC.

After being banned, APSC can no longer avail the facilities on the campus including the auditoriums for its functions.

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Oli Assures Modi, Nepal’s Territory Won’t Be Used Against India’s Interests

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

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Gokhale said that Modi's two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations
KP Sharma Oli, PM of Nepal, wikimedia commons

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Nepal’s territory will not be used against New Delhi’s interests, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said here on Saturday.

“Oli reiterated that they will be sensitive to our concerns and their territory will not be allowed to be used by anybody against India. Prime Minister Modi reciprocated the sentiments,” Gokhale told the media.

Gokhale called Oli’s view “very significant”.

There was a chill in India-Nepal ties during Oli’s earlier stint as Prime Minister between October 2015 and August 2016 when a border blockade blamed on New Delhi crippled Nepal’s economy.

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning towards China than India.

Gokhale said that Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations “whether it be cross-border electricity or cross-border connectivity”.

“We are looking into cross-border electricity and cross-border connectivity not only with Nepal but other neighbouring countries as well,” he said.

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

Stating that India welcomed the restoration of democracy in Nepal, Gokhale said that both the government and the opposition in the Himalayan nation were parties to it.

He said both sides agreed to be committed towards the stated projects. “We will address this within a set timeline.”

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Modi is on Nepal visit for two days, wikimedia commons

According to Gokhale, Oli confirmed to Modi that Nepal will host the the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) summit this year.

Bimstec comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Gokhale also said that Modi’s visits to cultural sites in Nepal “suggested that there should be strong people-to-people ties”.

Apart from offering prayers at temples in Nepal, the Indian leader inaugurated the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus service, a 900 MW hydropower project and announced Rs 100-crore aid to develop Janakpur city.

Also Read: Water Crisis is Increasing in Cape Town, Red Alert For Africa 

He also held extensive discussions with Oli, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and other government officials to better bilateral ties after which he said: “All misunderstandings with Nepal are over.”

Modi also met leaders of opposition parties, starting with former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other members of the Nepali Congress.

He exchanged views on strengthening bilateral ties with former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. (IANS)