"I have cleaned toilets as well as swept Professor TK Pawar's house many times to ensure that I get my apprentice certificate," said 16-year-old Anush Tambe (name changed), a first year Refrigeration & Air-conditioning (RAC) Mechanic student of the Industrial Training Institute (ITI). Tambe, a resident of Dahisar, had to rush to Nallasopara after his institute timings to clean Pawar's residence.
Students of the two-year RAC course at the ITI, Agripada have threatened to start an agitation if their instructor Prof Pawar (49) is not removed from the institute.
Students have filed a complaint with the Vocational Education and Training department alleging that Pawar forced them to do his domestic work and threatened with dire consequences if any student refused to comply.
On the basis of the complaint, the Vocational Education and Training department has set up an enquiry commission against the professor on Wednesday. Also on Thursday the Deputy Director of the Vocational Education department Dr RR Asawa met the students and noted down their complaints.
"If the enquiry finds him guilty, action will be initiated against him very soon," said Dr Asawa.
ITI, Agripada is the largest institute among the five others within Mumbai and the suburbs. Pawar has been teaching in Agripada for the last five years and students claimed that he hardly taught anything in the classes.
"Though our classes start at 9 am he never entered the institute before 4 pm," said Vikram, a first year student of RAC. "We do not get placed in good companies because we lack even the basic knowledge about our course," said Vikram.
Iqbal Hussain, a first year student of RAC added that apart from getting paan from the nearby stall to cleaning Pawar's leftovers after lunch, they have done it all. "Students who say no to his orders either flunk badly or are abused both verbally and physically," said Hussain.
A senior faculty member of the institute told HT that verbal complaints against Pawar had come in even from earlier batches. "But since these students hail from financially weak backgrounds, they never dare to complain against anything," he added.
Students have also alleged in their written complaint that during class hours Pawar would ask them to get his bank passbooks updated or even withdraw or deposit money into his account.
Refuting all these allegations, Professor Pawar said that the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which is supporting the student's claim, has vested interests. "They have misled the students," said Pawar.
"These students cannot even write their leave applications, how do you expect them to file a complaint against me."
Pawar also brought in the caste factor saying that nobody can tolerate a person from "lower class" to excel in life.
Email Sumitra Deb Roy: firstname.lastname@example.org