The ban was criticised by various organisations and political parties (photo: PTI)
IIT Madras has decided to revoke its controversial ban on the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC), a Dalit students group. The decision was taken on Sunday evening at a meeting of the IIT director and APSC leaders.
The institute also appointed a professor as APSC's faculty advisor, bringing an end to the two week-long standoff.
"The Dean of Students reinstated the recognition of APSC as an independent student body, and after consultation with the APSC representatives, recommended Professor Milind Brahme as the Faculty Advisor," an official release from IIT-M said.
Akhil, a member of APSC, told ANI that the students group had been unconditionally recognized by IIT Madras and that some of its demands have been met. He said APSC has asked for an unconditional apology from the management.
Earlier on Sunday, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) criticised the ban on APSC and said that it had invited the institute's acting director, Professor K Ramamurthy, as well as the HRD ministry to discuss how the problem could be resolved.
According to Hindustan Times, the Dean of Students, Sivakumar M Srinivasan, had de-recognised the APSC on May 24 over an anonymous complaint that the group was allegedly trying to spread hatred towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi by distributing provocative pamphlets and posters on campus.
The institute's ban was then criticised by various organisations as well as political parties. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and HRD minister Smriti Irani even engaged in a war of words on Twitter over the issue.
IIT-M had, however, maintained that “as per the guidelines in force, student bodies cannot use its name or its official entities in any capacity to publicise their activities or garner support without official permission.”
With students staging protests demanding withdrawal of the ban, the institute convened a meeting of the Board of Students last week, where suggestions towards framing uniform guidelines for independent student bodies were discussed. These would be taken up in "due course", according to the release.
The Dean of Students released a joint statement with APSC on Sunday, stating that the matter has been closed.