‘Due to COVID Stress’: IIT Prof Apologises for ‘Casteist’ Abuses

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes has taken suo motu cognisance of the matter and initiated a probe.

Published
India
3 min read
Twitter users call out professor Seema Singh for being casteist against her students in a preparatory course in IIT Kharagpur.  
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The professor of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT KGP) who was seen hurling casteist verbal abuses at her students, has apologised three days after her video went viral.

She 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.

“I am writing this to express my sincerest apology for what happened last week. It was not my intention to hurt anyone… It was never the slightest intention to be discriminatory towards any segment of the student community.”
Seema Singh wrote in an email, as reported by Hindustan Times

In her email to the students, as reported by Hindustan Times, she wrote, “I feel like this (the incident) may have been due to extreme stress of being COVID positive, suffering from poor health, social isolation, lack of any kind of support, and other incriminating personal factors, which I cannot share,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has taken suo motu cognisance of the matter and initiated an inquiry.

Background

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.

The teacher, an associate psundayrofessor 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, 25 April, 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?”

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.”

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