New Delhi/Chennai: The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has sent a notice to IIT Madras over the controversial ban of a students group whose members are mainly Dalits even as DMK Chief M Karunanidhi on Sunday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "direct intervention" for revocation of the order.
IIT-M is in the eye of a storm over derecognition of Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle(APSC) on Friday following a complaint that it was critical of Modi. The action had led to protests by political parties including Congress and AAP.
BJP, meanwhile, said the Union Government was not behind the decision as it was taken by the administration of the institute on grounds of misuse of privileges and violation of guidelines.
NCSC Chairman PL Punia told PTI today that a notice has been issued to IIT-M and a reply has been sought.
"I have issued a notice to the institute and sought its reply after taking note of the incident myself. We will take action in this regard," Punia said, adding, "Youngsters must get freedom of speech on campuses. Imposing bans thus is like suppressing their voices. This is completely wrong."
He further accused the Centre of being "insensitive" towards the marginalised sections and claimed that the number of anti-Dalit incidents had increased ever since the Modi government came to power.
"Such incidents have increased. These are not minor incidents, but serious ones," said Punia, who is a Congress Rajya Sabha MP.
While seeking Modi's intervention for revoking the order immediately to ensure that peace and a healthy atmosphere prevailed at the institute, Karunanidhi castigated Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani for "authoritarian" interference that allegedly led to the derecognition of the students group.
"Because of this incident, the otherwise peacefully functioning institute has turned into a war zone," he said.
Without naming Irani, he said that "unilateral" and "authoritarian" interference by Modi's ministers on such issues will impact both the youth of the country and the nation's peace.
"Though it seems that Prime Minister Modi doesn't place importance on needless issues like banning a democratic group, his ministers interfering unilaterally and in an authoritarian manner in such issues will impede youth's thought process and affect the nation's peace," Karunanidhi said in a statement released in Chennai.
BJP National Secretary H Raja said the Union Government was not behind the ban on APSC.
"The decision to derecognise and ban the students' group was taken by the IIT- Madras administration on grounds of misuse of privileges and violation of guidelines," he told PTI.