On Camera: IIT Kharagpur Prof Hurls ‘Casteist’ Abuses at Students
The assistant professor dared the students to report the matter to the ‘minority affair committee’.
An associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, on Sunday, 25 April, was caught on camera verbally abusing students for not standing up for the national anthem and not saying ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ during an online English preparatory course for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes communities and students with disabilities.
The year-long preparatory course is for students with reservations who clear the cut off but don’t get seats. They sign up to try for the following academic year. The faculty member plays a significant role here in grading and recommending a student for a seat in the IITs across the country.
What Did the Teacher Say?
The teacher, an Associate Professor of Humanities and Social Science at the institute, identified as Dr Seema Singh called a student “bloody bastard”. She warned him that if he did not leave the class, then she would award him no marks because of his "bad behaviour". She went on to say that she would give a zero to all the 128 students in the class as well.
The recordings were posted on Sunday anonymously on a Facebook confession page of IIT Kharagpur.
Singh said, “This is the minimum you can do for the country. If you do not get out of the class, I will give you zero. I have 20 marks for you, will give zero to all 120 of you if you don’t leave the class.”
“You have to stand for two minutes in the honour of the national anthem. You bloody bastard, this is also on your parents. Do you have any shame, you shameless creatures of prep course? Are you in school, bloody bastards? You can’t do it.”Seema Singh
In another video, Singh is seen shouting at the same batch, saying, “I got a mail from a student who said that her grandfather died two days ago and she won’t be able attend classes for a few days. It is very shocking and a total non-application of the human mind. If somebody’s grandfather has died, how does that prevent him/her from attending classes. You have been told the importance of attendance, and I don’t know why are (you) still sending such silly emails.”
The professor dared the students to report the matter to the “minority affair committee” or the “ministry of education”, repeatedly stating, “Do you know who I am?”
Calls for Her Resignation
The IIT student body group, Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC), shared the video on their official social media handles, stating the professor was cognisant of her actions. The student body then made the following demands:
- Immediate termination of such casteist and authoritarian professor
- She be booked under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act
- Set up a permanent SC, ST, and OBC Cell at IIT Kharagpur and all other IITs.
- This Cell should act as an anti-caste discrimination cell, take strict actions against casual and structural casteism and work towards sensitising the campus about casual and structural forms of discrimination.
How Did IIT Respond?
The IIT registrar, Tamil Nath told The Hindu that he received an email about the incident stating, “In the IIT system, we do not support such language. We will take some action.”
The National Commission of Scheduled Castes and the Ministry of Human Resource and Development have been notified about the manner in which the professor used ‘casteist abuses’, and a disciplinary committee is looking into the matter, as per Professor Dilip Mandal on Twitter.
Social Media Stir
The incident has created a social media backlash against the professor with the hashtag, ##End_Casteism_In_IIT, which has been used over 85,000 times on Twitter.
(With inputs from The Hindu.)
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