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IITR Students protest against expulsion

July 24, 2015

The Uttarakhand High Court, on Wednesday (22/07/15), rejected the petition filed by students who were expelled for academic underperformance at IIT Roorkee. The court also directed the administration to reconsider the case of two students who had the required CGPA, but had not completed the minimum number of credits. Following the court order approving the expulsion of 70 students, the entire campus buzzed with protests under the slogan ‘Take Them Back’.

At 8:30 am students staged a dharna in front of lecture hall complex and boycotted all lectures from the morning onwards. The administration initially tried to nip the strike in the bud by threatening to take disciplinary action against all students who skipped classes. However, as the protests mounted, the Dean of Students Welfare Dr D.K Nauriyal arrived to meet the protestors and requested the gathered students to disperse and go back to classes. He expressed his sympathy with the students on the issue, although he mentioned that was very little which could be done on the part of DOSW and added that the strike would do little good for the expelled.

The strike also drew public attention with many regional media outlets arriving to report the incident. Following the dharna, around 600 students participated in a rally which went around the administrative building and towards Rajendra Bhawan before arriving at convocation hall. The new entrants who were completing their registration and their parents who had little knowledge of the happenings inside the campus were startled by the sound of slogans and the long rallies in front of them. Leaders of student political organisations of Uttarakhand had also come to express solidarity on the matter, but were denied entry into the campus raising security reasons.

As the campus simmers with protests, lots of questions remain unanswered regarding the authenticity of the arguments put forth by the administration and the rationality of such harsh decisions. The pragmatism of the criteria for assessment is debated extensively on the social media and otherwise. The future of the expelled students lies in jeopardy while the administrational decision to abolish the minimum GPA criterion for the next session makes the whole episode look like an experiment, which went wrong. The students have moved an appeal before the division bench of the high court for reconsideration on the matter.