The large number of suicides by Dalit students in Indian educational system, especially in premier science and professional colleges and universities, are a mere pointer towards the widespread prevalence of various forms of caste-discrimination and humiliations that our students have to undergo on a regular basis while pursuing their higher education.
The testimonies of Balmukund Bharti’s parents and family members in the documentary ‘The Death of Merit’ also prove the kind of mental torture and harassment our students have to go through just because they belong to the ‘wrong’ castes.
Therefore, on behalf of all Dalit and Adivasi students, we demand the Government of India to
• Order investigation into the suicides of Linesh Mohan Gawle (NII) and Balmukund Bharti (AIIMS)
• Appoint an enquiry committee to probe into students’ suicides in Indian campuses
• Appoint a judicial commission to enquire about the prevalence of various forms of caste-discrimination in higher education and to come out with stringent measures to prevent such happenings and for punishing the guilty faculty members, students and administration.
• Take steps for immediate implementation of recommendations made by Prof Thorat Committee report and we also demand exemplary punishments for faculty members and students who were involved in harassing our students in AIIMS as per the committee report.
If these demands are not met by the Indian government by 31st May, 2011, the Dalit and Adivasi students and youth will be forced to start a nation-wide agitation from June 1.
We, the Dalit and Adivasi students and youth, are now determined to make our campuses caste-discrimination free and will go to any extent possible to assert our constitutional right of pursuing education in free and fair manner.