Days after a 19-minute-long audio conversation between an Assistant Professor in Virudhunagar’s Devanga College for Art and women students rocked the state of Tamil Nadu, WhatsApp chats between the professor and the students have been unearthed.
According to News18 Tamil Nadu, a WhatsApp conversation between Nirmala Devi, a mathematics professor and a woman student has been registered as evidence in the case.
The alleged conversation between the student and Devi took place between 2 March and 16 March.
The conversation shows a desperate attempt by the professor to allegedly lure these students into sex work.
While Devi was not explicit about the ‘opportunity’ that she had for the students, she allegedly harassed them by asking them to change their display pictures and telling them to eat eggs.
On 2 March, she messaged the students, asking, “Darlings, can we form a team? When madam goes out, do you want to come with me? Can we quietly achieve (this)?”
While some of the details of the conversation have been blurred, she goes on to allegedly lure them further, giving her ‘nuggets’ of wisdom. “You all are very well known about the competitions to survive in this world with SUCCESS with money and fame. It needs not only talents but some intellectual movement both mentally and physically. You are so brilliant in my view, you may 75% realise what i am going to tell (sic)”, reads one message. Once again, Devi is careful not to make her ‘offer’ explicit.
Using one student as a messenger, the professor goes on to write, “...u 6 are all talented and you all will be appreciated by the society and it will lead good will. Please convey and discuss it. I think you may understand. If ok pls ask them to send me good morning and good evening messages in capital letters daily... After that only i will speak with the reliable one. If u r not willing definetly u all miss the good opportunity (sic)”.
Explaining that she is empathetic to the situation she is putting them in, Devi says, “Moreover i am also having two girl children like u, so i will think think a lot in all the matters I am going to execute my plan next week by the help of (accomplice name blacked out) and (accomplice name blacked out) first (sic)”.
In yet another message urging the students to maintain secrecy, she then says, “then (student name), u and (student name) eat egg per my request In academically as well as THICK friendship level... I will GUIDE u in academicaly and financially...Also in career.. How much u keep the secret that much u will be appreciated by all (sic)”.
Devi then goes on to ask for another student’s number and asks all the students to change their display pictures on WhatsApp. “Pls change all of ur dp's with ur's SUPER(individual) photos (Student name) sending gm msg (sic)”.
Slamming the professor for her inappropriate behaviour, the student replies, "Ma'am I didn't expect this. This will not work out for my family and me. So please don't discuss this anymore. Hope you understand".
To this, Devi replies, “Opportunities coming then only I am suggesting, asking. Think. Think. Think.” In Tamil, she continues, "When luck knocks on your door, you must use it. Luck will come only once in a while."
To this, the student categorically replies saying it is a sin. In a seemingly understanding tone, Devi says, "Ok ma. Take ur way. Sorry da (sic)."
The student adds, "This is not luck and don't repeat it. What do you think? I am not worrying”.
Giving the professor a piece of her mind, the student says, "Please don't go and ask another girl all this. I am repulsed just by listening to this. It doesn't matter what you think. If someone else had asked what you just asked me, the outcome would have been very different. I respect your age and position so I am going silently. Don't think that just because I am silent, that you are correct. Don't speak to anyone like this. If you speak to me like this again, the outcome will be different”.
Undeterred by the clear rejection of her offer, the professor says, "A small but strong ladder is before my eyes. That's why I suggested this (sic)".
Once again, the student says she is not interested.
Claiming that the others involved would be careful about ‘security’, Devi writes, "From what they have tested me so far, I know they are very very careful about security. That's why I decided to talk about this now."
The professor continues to badger the student, telling her more than twice to “think”. Seemingly appreciating the students for their stance while also allegedly trying to recruit them to go along with her ideas, she says, "I read ur msg. Good. I was also said once upon time like u. But situation changes. If we are not there, it doesn't mean it won't happen. I have missed many opportunities. I thought this was like that. If you don't want, leave it. I will tell them. That's all. They will look for someone else”.
On 16 March, the professor again messages the students despite repeated rejection. She writes, "Darlings you are really missing very very very good opportunities (sic)".
Dropping another bombshell, which makes one wonder whom Devi was working for, she asks the students what they thought about the positions of registrar and collector. She also clarifies that she was not referring to a "bill collector".
Anticipating her "fears" even after the student refused her, she says, "U think abt the security? how they think the security? Security is more more more. I always suggest u all, the best ones (sic)".
At this point, Devi promises to leave the student alone, saying, "Ok da leave it. Sorry. I won't disturb u. Believe me. Believe me. Believe me (sic)".
Outraged by her incessant badgering, the student shoots back, “How dare you ask me like this?”
Devi doesn’t reply.
The professor was arrested on Monday, 16 April, and a one-man investigation has been launched into the matter, directly overseen by Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit.
(This article was originally published on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)