Kolkata school accused of sacking teacher over sexual orientation

A science teacher of Calcutta International School alleges he was sacked a day after his book,‘My Homosexual Confession,’ was released; school has denied his allegations.

kolkata Updated: Mar 21, 2018 16:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Kolkata school,LGBTQ,Calcutta International School
A science teacher of a Kolkata school has claimed that he was summarily dismissed for his other sexual orientation. (HT File photo for representational purpose only. )

A science teacher of a reputable Kolkata school has alleged that he was “summarily dismissed” by the authorities of the institution for his other sexual orientation.

Avjit Kundu, an engineering graduate from Jadavpur University, alleged that the authorities of Calcutta International School (CIS) sacked him on February 5, a day after his autobiography, Amar Shamakami Ejahar (My Homosexual Confession), was released at the Kolkata International Book Fair.

The CIS is a member of the Council of International Schools and it follows the University of Cambridge curriculum and assessment norms. It was set up in 1953. Students of 17 nationalities study in this school.

Kundu was waiting for the past few weeks to get his dues from the school before lodging a protest.

“On March 18, I have written an email to the principal, asking for the reason of my dismissal. Although she did not respond to my mail, she told me over telephone and expressed a desire to meet me to discuss the matter,” said Kundu.

“I will pursue the matter till the end. I am exploring legal steps too,” said the 40-year-old teacher of mathematics and physics.

The school authorities denied Kundu’s allegations. The school’s human resource manager Chayita Sen denied any connection between Kundu’s dismissal and his sexual orientation.

“Mathematics and physics being core subjects, it was not possible for us to continue with a part-time teacher. That is all to it,” Sen said. However, she also admitted that the reason of his dismissal was conveyed to him verbally and nothing was given in writing.

Kundu joined as a full-time teacher in June 2017.

“Just two months after I joined, principal Dr Moon Moon Nath summoned me at her room and questioned me about a short film in YouTube where I played the role of a transgender person. Her contention was that guardians of some students of the school brought up the topic with the authorities. However, at that point of time the conversation did not last long and our principal ended it with an advice to be careful,” Kundu said.

He also said that in September last year, the principal cautioned him when it was reported that he patted a student on his back during invigilation.

Subsequently, Kundu approached the authorities with a request to convert his full-time appointment into a part-time one. “I had lot of preoccupations in cultural activities such as dancing. The authorities agreed and I continued as a part-time teacher,” he said.

“On February 5, after I came to the school and started distributing copies of my book among fellow teachers, I was summoned by the human resource manager Chayita Sen. She handed over the dismissal letter to me and said that the school no longer requires a part-time teacher. However, the reason was not stated in the termination letter,” Kundu said.

LGBTQ right groups have planned to take up the issue. “Despite so much awareness campaigns going around, I wonder how a school can behave in this manner. We will wait till Avijit Kundu has a word with the principal, and then plan our campaign accordingly,” said Souvik, a founder of the Kolkata Rainbow Pride Walk, the organiser of the annual LGBTQ pride walk in the city.

Kundu earlier used to teach at Naz Foundation International in Lucknow and Gyanshala Project Educational Support Organisation at Kalyani in Nadia district.

First Published: Mar 21, 2018 15:58 IST