Equal & separate

Equal & separate: In AIIMS hostels, SC/ST means you live with your own

A majority of SC/ST students at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the country’s premier medical school which was at the heart of anti-quota protests recently, live in clusters in the college hostel as they feel ‘‘safe and comfortable’’.

Though they were allotted rooms randomly when they first joined the college, SC/ST students have sought reallocation to specific sections of the hostel after some of them alleged that they were harassed by ‘general category` students.

Hostel records, obtained by The Indian Express under the Right to Information Act reveal that of the 45 male SC/ST students who have been in AIIMS for more than a year, at least 34 are living in clusters. Of these, 23 have sought reallocation from rooms which they were originally allotted when they joined the college, the records show. Of the total 306 students in AIIMS, 65 (21%) belong to SC/ST category.

SC/ST students living in the clusters claim that while some moved to the clusters voluntarily as they felt ‘‘safe and comfortable’’, many were forced to leave the rooms allotted to them as they were unable to bear harassment by some ‘upper caste’ students.

Hostel superintendent Dr G K Rath refused to comment, saying he was not authorised to speak to the press. Boys’ hostel secretary Tarique Zaman said that “Dalit students move not because they are forced to, but because they want to live with their friends”.

AIIMS spokesperson Dr Shakti Gupta maintained “there is no caste-based discrimination. Many students sought reallocation of rooms due to problems of water seepage and other maintenance problems in the rooms”.

Courtesy: http://www.indianexpress.com


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