New Delhi: A video has emerged of an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur professor calling students “bloody b*^#@$%!” during an online class, sending shockwaves in the IIT community. It also prompted students from the institute to call for the professor’s termination.
The video first emerged Sunday on the Facebook page of ‘IIT KGP confessions’. It started circulating on various social media platforms, later finding prominence in the alumni circles.
In the video, the professor — identified as Seema Singh from the department of humanities and social sciences — was seen calling the students of a preparatory class, “bloody b*^#@$%!”, for reasons not clearly known.
Preparatory class is a batch of students from the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and persons with disability categories, who are unable to get direct admission to IIT through JEE Advanced. They are given one year of preparatory class at an IIT to qualify for a seat next year.
In the video, the professor also seemed to be threatening students that she would complain to their parents about their behaviour in class.
Speaking to ThePrint, a student who was attending the class said the teacher reacted this way because she thought that students did not stand up for the national anthem.
“The professor was screaming at everyone because she assumed that people did not stand at national anthem, even as everyone did. Even if people do not stand, this is no way to talk to students … one cannot address students as ‘b*^#@$%!’,” said the student who didn’t wish to be named.
ThePrint reached Singh via calls and texts for a comment but there was no response until the time of publishing this report.
The IIT Kharagpur administration has also not commented on the issue so far. ThePrint reached Director V.K. Tiwari via calls for a comment but there was no response until the time of publishing this report.
Sources at the institute told ThePrint that the director held a virtual meeting with the students to address their concerns.
‘Discrimination against SC/ST students’
The student community of IIT Kharagpur shared the video on the Facebook page and released a statement saying the professor in the video “overreacts a lot in her classes” and “abuses the students and their parents by using words such as ‘Bloody [b*^#@$%!]’ during a class in session in an Institute of Eminence”.
“She says she cannot be touched and is above everybody, the Government, the Ministry, the Institute everything,” it said. “She is mentally torturing and abusing the students of prep courses who haven’t even started their college life yet and are still in a learning phase.”
The students also demanded that the “professor must be immediately terminated from service”.
The video has been shared on social media by many people, including sociologist Suryakant Waghmore.
“Pandemic times… that faculty needs to be sensitive to student needs is common sense. Instead the professor of English at IIT Kharagpur is calling students ‘bloody [b*^#@$%!]’ As a professor I apologise to all students and hang my head in shame,” he said.
Pandemic times… that faculty needs to be sensitive to student needs is common sense. Instead the professor of English at IIT Kharagpur is calling students ‘bloody bastards.’ As a professor I apologise to all students and hang my head in shame 🙏🏾
— Suryakant Waghmore (@Suryakant_Waghm) April 26, 2021
Some others are calling it discrimination with students from the SC/ST community.
There is no discrimination in premier institutes? This is what happens in IITs. IIT Kharagpur Prof. Seema Singh openly abuses freshers enrolled in Preparatory English Course for SC/ST/PD students and challenges them to complain.
Will the government book her under PoA Act? pic.twitter.com/YvzOuxjmwm
— Azhar (@lonelyredcurl) April 26, 2021
“It is appalling to see a professor behave like this with her students during a class. I wonder whether this was just a one off incident or she regularly abuses students like this. This needs to be investigated,” said Dheeraj Singh, an IIT-KGP preparatory batch alumnus from Class 1998-99.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.