IIM Bengaluru professor writes to President alleging caste discrimination; institute denies claim

The professor also alleged that students from the SC/ST communities are also being discriminated against regularly.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Jun 04, 2024 | 6:49 AMUpdatedJun 04, 2024 | 3:17 PM

Karnataka Bengaluru IIMB Caste Discrimination

Earlier in the year, an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Management – Bangalore (IIM-B) penned a letter to the President of India, levelling serious allegations of caste discrimination against his colleagues. Responding to the professor’s letter, the President has directed the Karnataka government to conduct a probe into the said allegations.

A few months back, IIM-B’s Marketing Assistant Professor, Dr Gopal Das accused his colleagues, including director Rishikesha T Krishnan of caste discrimination, denial of fair promotion, harassment and refusal to provide access to the institute’s resources because Gopal is from an underprivileged community.

In a detailed letter, Gopal, who is from a Scheduled Caste (SC), wrote about the atrocities he was subjected to by the management, his seniors and colleagues. After directions from the President regarding his letter, the Directorate of Civil Rights Enforcement (DCRE) has now launched a probe.

In another letter to the Social Welfare Department, Gopal also alleged that the students from the SC/ST communities at IIM-B are subjected to discrimination regularly and that they do not have a cell to safeguard their dignity and welfare.

However, IIM-B – one of the premier business schools in the country – has strongly denied the allegations made by the professor and said that the institute has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination.

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Gopal’s allegations against IIM-B

Apart from the director, Gopal has also accused the dean of faculty – Dinesh Kumar and six other colleagues in the institute according to reports. Gopal joined IIM-B as an assistant professor in 2018.

According to a report in TOI,“Prof Das complained (that) he had been subjected to discrimination, denial of fair promotion and harassment by the management, seniors and colleagues over his SC credential.”

“He was denied opportunities in the institutional activities, forced to withdraw elective courses and PhD programmes, denied access to the institutes’ resources and humiliated by being referred to as a member of lower caste,” claimed the report.

According to reports, Gopal further alleged that faculty aren’t given caste-sensitive training before the beginning of an academic year, resulting in students from the SC/ST communities being discriminated against regularly.

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IIM-B denies allegations of caste discrimination

IIM-B has strongly denied the allegations and claimed that it has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination in the institute.

When South First contacted the IIM-B seeking its response to the allegations, it denied everything. The management said, “IIMB categorically and strongly denies all the allegations made in the letter. IIMB is a law-abiding institute with zero tolerance for any form of discrimination.”

“Any complaint of such manner has always been dealt with, with utmost attention and detail per the rules and regulations of the Institute and the law established. The Institute has strong internal mechanisms against any form of discrimination,” it pointed out.

It further added that “The Diversity and Inclusion Grievance Redressal Committee (DIGRC) looks into all complaints of discrimination including those related to SC/ST. The institute has given a detailed reply to the authorities concerned based on the complaint made to the President of India,” and declined to comment further.

(Edited by Neena)