IIT-Madras squabble turns into war with media
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A squabble between a photojournalist and a faculty member of the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras triggered by incidents in the aftermath of a student's suicide has snowballed into a major struggle between the institute and the media, with a police case being registered and a professor absconding.
The incident happened on August 21 when the media came to the institute to report the suicide of an MTech student, Nerugu Manasa. According to reports, as photojournalist Albin Mathew of The New Indian Express (not connected to this paper) was taking pictures of the hostel and some of the grieving students, a senior faculty, Prakash M Maiya, asked him to stop, saying he was making the girl students uneasy. Maiya is also the chairman of the council of wardens.
An argument ensued, and the professor along with a few security guards allegedly manhandled Mathew. The photojournalist and his newspaper claim the guards and the faculty assaulted him and tried to snatch his camera, and detained him for about an hour in the administrative building. After the newspaper took up the matter with senior officials, police were called in.
According to the institute, dean of students L S Ganesh first urged Mathew not to take photos of the students. When Mathew persisted, hostel warden Indumathi Nambi requested him to delete the "objectionable pictures". Nambi then asked the hostel affairs secretary Praveen to ensure that the pictures were deleted. It was at this juncture that professor Maiya intervened, leading to the alleged altercation. The institute also claims that it was Mathew who assaulted the professor first.
On Mathew's complaint, police registered a case of rioting, wrongful confinement, voluntarily causing hurt and threat to cause death against Maiya and the security personnel.
Three security persons have been arrested, while Maiya is absconding.
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