Volume 3 Issue 7 - April 01, 2005

IIT Delhi shows its true colours

DNIS News Network - In a shocking incident of discrimination and injustice, the Indian Institute of Technology dismisses the services of disabled scientist Dr. S.K. Jain, just because he asked for an accessible laboratory.

Cases of discrimination against disabled people have reached new levels of intensity. Not only are the government and bureaucracy insensitive to disabled people, but so are, it seems, famous autonomous institutions such as the Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T.)!

I.I.T.-Delhi has recently shocked the disability sector by giving the sack to one of its disabled scientists, Dr. S.K. Jain, just because he asked for certain infrastructural changes to make his work environment disabled-friendly. Due to orthopaedic disabilities, Dr. Jain found it extremely strenuous to reach his laboratory on the first floor. Because he requested authorities to shift his lab to the ground floor, or build ramps to enable him to reach the first floor, his services were terminated. As I.I.T. had no legal grounds to dismiss the scientist, they defamed his work and harassed him, to the extent of sealing his office and confiscating his computer!

Dr. Jain had been a student of I.I.T.; he started working there as a research scientist in 1990. His work was applauded every year in the I.I.T.'s annual review. However, 10 years later when Dr. Jain asked for a few concessions in order to make the laboratory accessible, his work suddenly became ‘irrelevant' and his demeanour ‘depressed'.

This behaviour not only goes against the Disability Act of 1995, but is also in gross violation of basic human rights. The I.I.T. lost a harassment case first in the High Court and then in the Supreme Court, but that did not change the Institute's attitude. Assuming autonomy, it disregarded the highest power in the country and continued to harass Dr Jain. At a press conference organised by N.C.P.E.D.P. to highlight Dr. Jain's case, Executive Director Javed Abidi termed this incident an example of “blatant injustice”.

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