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Two weeks after videos of abuse surface, IIT-KGP suspends prof

A professor from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kharagpur has been suspended two weeks after videos of her purportedly abusing students from Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes categories and those with physical disabilities emerged on social media
By Priyanka Sahoo, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAY 13, 2021 12:16 AM IST

A professor from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kharagpur has been suspended two weeks after videos of her purportedly abusing students from Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes categories and those with physical disabilities emerged on social media.

Seema Singh, an associate professor of English from the department of Humanities and Social Sciences, was suspended on Monday pending an internal investigation, said Tamal Nath, registrar, IIT-Kharagpur.

On April 24, video recordings of Singh were posted anonymously on the confessions page of the institute, an informal group of students on social media. The recordings are those of preparatory classes, allegedly taught by Singh online and attended by over 100 students and parents, where she can be heard hurling abuses repeatedly.

IITs offer preparatory courses for two semesters to aspirants of SC and ST communities as well as persons with disability (PWD). The preparatory courses are offered against vacant seats reserved for students who missed out on admissions through the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE). At the end of the two semesters, the students can either take JEE again or seek admission based on their performance during the preparatory course.

In the video clips, Singh can be heard verbally abusing both students and their parents for not attending classes, keeping their cameras switched off during the class. Singh also castigated a student for sending an email stating that they would not be able to attend the class for a few days due to the death of their grandparent.

“Professor Singh has been suspended until further orders. A fact-finding committee had been instituted to look into the allegations and has submitted its report. We are now instituting an internal inquiry,” Nath said.

Singh was unavailable for comment.

Soon after the videos went viral, Singh had, in an email to students, apologised for her behaviour. “I am writing this to express my sincerest apology for what happened last week. It was definitely not my intention to hurt anyone… It was never the slightest intention to be discriminatory towards any segment of the student community,” Singh wrote in her email.

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

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