The students of the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati (IIT-G) has launched a hunger strike for the reinstatement of the suspended assistant professor, Brijesh Kumar Rai, who was “forcefully” asked to opt for compulsory retirement.
The hunger strike, which was launched on January 4th, 2020, is led by two PhD students Himanchal Singh and Vikrant Singh. The protesting students also demanded an independent probe in the alleged cases of corruption which were exposed by Rai.
The protesters also claimed that their professor was victimized for raising a voice against the on-going corruption inside the institute.
Alleging “misconduct” and “defaming the institute”, Rai was asked by the IIT-G to opt of compulsory retirement. The professor said he will challenge the institute’s decision in the court.
“Professor Rai was served notice for ‘compulsory retirement’ on January 1st, 2020 and has been asked to evacuate his room within one month. According to institute rules, the minimum period for housing evacuation is four months in case of retirement,” the protesting students said.
The students added, “We want a fair, independent and transparent investigation of all the cases of corruption of IITG which Professor Rai has brought to light and have been fighting for years.”
The students alleged that on January 4th, 2020, just before the hunger strike began, the IIT-G Director called all students representatives and threatened them to not fall for the ‘propaganda’ being spread by the people supporting the professor.
“He also warned students against joining the protest and said strict disciplinary action, which generally leads to a suspension, will be taken against students. Inspite of the threats, students are fighting for the truth by going on a hunger strike. Their numbers might have been suppressed by the administration, but their spirits are stronger than ever,” said a student of the institute.