Tuesday November 19, 2019
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HRD ministry denies any role in banning IIT-Madras student group

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The government on Friday said it had no role in banning the students’ group at the IIT-Madras even as opposition attacked it for curbing free speech.

The controversy over action against the student’s group for criticizing the Modi government also saw a war of words break out on Twitter between Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani.

In a statement, Irani said: “The action has been taken by IIT-Madras as per the guidelines of the institute, the ministry of human resource development had nothing to do with this except for forwarding the complaint received to director, IIT, Madras for comments”.

IIT-Madras has taken action as per their own “procedure and institute’s guidelines”.

“IITs being autonomous institutions, they are competent to handle matters within their guidelines and procedure. The matter has been clarified by IIT, Madras through a media statement,” it added.

Irani’s statement followed reports stating that the institute had taken action against the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC) – a students’ study group – over an anonymous complaint to the central government, saying the study group was trying to “create an atmosphere of hatred” among students by distributing “controversial pamphlets and posters” on the campus.

An anonymous letter to the ministry said that some controversial posters and pamphlets were pasted and distributed all over the institute by the group.

“One group ‘Ambedkar Periyar’ is trying to de-align the ST/SC students and trying to make them to protest against the MHRD and central government. They are also trying to create hatred against the prime minister and Hindus,” it said, adding the group was using IIT-Madras as a stage to get publicity.

The institute’s spokesperson said that while IIT-Madras did not curtail freedom of expression of the students, it is expected that student groups adhere to guidelines while conducting their activities.

Attacking the government, Gandhi, in a tweet, said: “IIT student group banned for criticizing Modi Government. What next?”

He added that free speech “is our right. We will fight any attempt to crush dissent and debate”.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the arrogance of the Narendra Modi government has come to an extent that if “a students’ organization criticizes their policies, that group is disbanded”.

“Is this how voice of dissent raised by youth will be suppressed in the country? This is why Rahulji has raised his voice,” he said.

Senior Congress leader Ambika Soni said: “It is evident (about Modi government). Think like us. Speak our language otherwise you have no place in free India”.

The National Students Union of India (NSUI) also held a protest outside Irani’s residence here against the “anti-constitutional act of the government in banning the APSC of IIT Madras for aptly criticizing the government’s inabilities”.

“NSUI believes that such an act is in complete violation with regard to the constitutional right of freedom of expression and speech given to every individual of the country,” its spokesperson Amrish Ranjan Pandey told IANS.

The protestors were detained and taken to the Parliament Street police station.

The fight was carried on Twitter.

Within minutes of Gandhi condemning the move to censure the IIT students’ group on the micro-blogging site Twitter, Irani threw an open challenge to him. “Next time fight ur battles ur self don’t hide behind NSUI. N by d way I’m returning to Amethi soon. See you there,” she tweeted.

“Tell ur men strong arm tactics were tried in Amethi n didn’t scare me during Lok Sabha elections. They won’t scare me now,” Irani tweeted.

“Yesterday u told NSUI to create disorder where there is order. Today ur goons come to my house as I’m away at work,” she said.

The union minister was on a day-long visit to Silchar in Assam to address party workers to mark the BJP-led government’s one year in office.

(With inputs from IANS)

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PM Modi Advises Scientists To Use Science to Improve Lives

PM Narendra Modi tells Scientists to use science to improve the lives of citizens

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Modi advises Scientists
Prime Minister Modi tells scientists that science and technology should be used to bettering the lives of citizens. Wikimedia Commons

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called upon scientists to take up challenges in their research for bettering the daily lives of common citizens, especially farmers, help in reaching clean drinking water, solar power to the people, and solving problems such as pollution.

Highlighting the importance of ‘science for society’, Modi said when all “scientists, all citizens, will move forward with this understanding, both the country and mankind will be benefited”.

“To know the connection between science and society, we have to give answers to some questions. Everybody knows the pollution problem due to increased use of plastic. Can our scientists take up the challenge to come up with saleable and cost effective material which can take the place of plastic?” the Prime Minister asked while inaugurating the India International Science Festival through video conferencing from Delhi.

Indian PM Narendra Modi
PM Narendra Modi highlights the importance of ‘Science for Society’. Wikimedia Commons

Modi exhorted scientists assembled from India and abroad for the mega event whether they can take up the challenge to find a better way to store energy or electricity.

“Can we get a solution so that the use of solar power can go up, can we come up with an innovation related to battery and other infrastructure to reach electric mobility to the common man?

“Have we thought of doing something in our lab which can improve the lives of crores of people? Can we find a solution to local drinking water problems and reach clean drinking water to the people?” he asked.

Also Read-Vietnam and Australia to Start Collaborating on Science Initiatives

Modi also urged scientists to ponder over whether they can invent something which would cut down healthcare cost, and benefit peasants by increasing their income.

“We have to think how use of science can help in easing the lives of the people,” he said. (IANS)