The Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) has issued guidelines urging students to desist from asking fellow students for details that might reveal their caste and instead encouraged them to bond over commonalities like sports, music and movies.
The anti-discrimination guidelines come months after allegations of caste discrimination at the premiere institute surfaced following the death of Darshan Solanki, a first-year BTech (chemical) student.
Apart from circulating the guidelines among students, authorities have also pasted them at different locations on the institute's Powai campus.
According to the guidelines, it is inappropriate to ask fellow students about their birth, admission, and the category they belong to as it could lead to conscious or subconscious bias.
It is also inappropriate to ask other students about their JEE Advanced rank or GATE score or any other information that may reveal caste or other related aspects, the guidelines say.
Asking the rank could appear like an attempt to find the caste and may set the stage for discrimination, state the guidelines made public by the institute on July 29.
The guidelines encourage students to bond over commonalities like departments, sports, music, movies, schools, college, and hobbies.
They also prohibit students from sharing messages, including jokes that are abusive, hateful, casteist, sexist or exhibit bigotry based on religion or sexual orientation, which can be construed as harassment or bullying.
IIT-B also talks of ”severe punishment” in case of violation of the guidelines.
The institute said the guidelines are just a compilation of content in the context of anti-discrimination.
”Each year, in the orientation session for new Under Graduate (UG) and Post Graduate (PG) entrants, various institute bodies/cells have always emphasised the zero-tolerance policy that IIT-Bombay follows towards any form of discrimination.
”Each hostel and department/centre too have had posters from various cells. This year, the content from various cells, posters/orientations, in the context of anti-discrimination, has been compiled into one poster. This is also being circulated by the institute towards both new and existing students,” said IIT-B.
Solanki, who hailed from Ahmedabad, allegedly jumped to death from the seventh floor of a hostel building on the IIT-B campus on February 12.
According to the chargesheet filed by the Mumbai police in the case, he had told his mother that caste-based discrimination existed on the institute's campus. He also told his mother during phone calls that the behaviour of fellow students changed when they learned about his caste, claimed the chargesheet.