Police Case Filed Against IIT Kharagpur Professor Over Casteist Remarks

The police in Kharagpur have filed a suo motu case against Dr Seema Singh, associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, over her casteist remarks against SC/ST students during an online English class conducted on April 16 and April 23, the Times of India reported.

Last month, when the professor’s video – where she was seen abusing the students – went viral, the National Commission of Scheduled Tribes (NCST) and the National Commission of Scheduled Castes (NCSC) wrote an email to various state departments in Kolkata seeking immediate action against the professor. The email sent by the NCSC stated that Singh’s comments were “parliamentary” and have “hurt the sentiments of many Indians specifically SC community. Therafter, a case under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was registered at the Kharagpur police station.

According to the Times of India, the police complaint mentions that the institute’s registrar had confirmed the remarks made by Singh, following an internal probe conducted by the institute. Thereafter, on May 10, she was suspended until further notice.

In the viral video, which has now been taken down, the professor could be seen calling students “bloody bastards” for not standing up for national anthem and not saying ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ during the preparatory online English class. IITs across the country conduct this year-long English course to equip SC, ST, OBC and PwD students to pursue their engineering courses. All students in the reserved category who clear the cut off but don’t get the seats can voluntarily sign up for this course to seek admission a year later. At the end of the year, the faculty member conducting the course gets to decide whether the student has passed or failed. Based on the result, the student then gets allotted a seat in any of the IITs across India.

As soon as the video caught the attention of student communities outside the institute, they unequivocally demanded strict action against the professor. Following the furore, Singh wrote an email to the college administration as well as the students apologising for her casteist remarks saying that the pandemic-induced fatigue could have led to her making such statements. The student committee across the country, however, rejected her apology and demanded legal action.

Featured image: Screenshot of the viral video taken earlier which is no longer available in the public domain.