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NIT Silchar appoints new interim Dean Academic as a temporary provision, Students' hunger strike continues

Tension continues to grip the NIT Silchar campus as the hunger strike started by students of the institute yesterday morning continues till the time of writing this report. The students are demanding justice and reform following a tragic incident that occurred on September 15 as one of their classmates took his own life which they believe is an “institutional murder”.

The peaceful demonstration began yesterday when students gathered in front of the new gallery inside the campus to demand accountability for the administrative failures they believe led to their classmate’s suicide. The satyagraha started at 7 am yesterday and 29 hours into the strike, the NIT authorities removed Dean Academic Dr. B.K. Roy as an interim measure.

The Registrar of NIT Silchar, KL Baishnab, while speaking to reporters stated that they had agreed to the students’ demand for changing the Dean Academic by appointing Dr. LC Saikia to the post as an interim measure. However, the final decision regarding the Dean Academic will be made after the approval of the Director, who is currently out of station for an important work. He also indicated that changes related to attendance, grade points and other academic matters demanded by the students were being considered but would require a procedural approach, with official acceptance expected at the next senate meeting on October 6.

He added that some of the demands made by the students were illogical and that a full fledged discussion across the table was needed to solve the underlying issues based on consensus.

However, the students remain unconvinced by this one-point solution and stand resolute in their “satyagraha” until all their demands are fully met. The students who have been sitting on hunger strike were met by the officials of NIT last night too, but none of their demands were met and the discussion was not fruitful. Today after the second round of negotiation by Registrar KL Baishnab, Associate Dean of Student Welfare Malaya Dutta and Professor of Electrical Dr. LC Saikia with the students, the satyagrahis are still asking for all their demands to be fulfilled.

The students’ demands elaborated by a protestor encompass a range of issues which include:

1) NIT authorities to clarify false allegations surrounding the deceased student’s mental health and substance abuse

2) Immediate resignation of Dr. B.K. Roy who they hold accountable for the tragic suicide

3) Filing of FIR by the NIT administration regarding the suicide case to determine the culprits behind the student’s death based on police investigation

4) No action by either the NIT authorities or local administration against the students participating in the movement for justice

5) NIT authorities urged to review the condition of students who may be facing same challenges and provide appropriate mental health support to them

6) A thorough investigation involving impartial external experts and student representatives to identify shortcomings of the academic processes and propose academic reforms for a more student-friendly system

The students of NIT also addressed a letter to the Chief Minister of Assam, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, requesting his intervention to address their concerns. Among their request to the CM is proper compensation for the bereaved family of the student.

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