The protests were triggered as the students and faculty owing allegiance to the Trinamool Congress hurled the insults.
Kolkata: A day after four departmental heads and three deans resigned in protest against casteist slurs hurled at four professors belonging to the scheduled caste (SC) community, state education minister Partha Chatterjee visited Kolkata’s Rabindra Bharti University on Tuesday.
The protests were triggered as the students and faculty owing allegiance to the Trinamool Congress hurled the insults reported Hindustan Times.
Some students had an argument with teachers over skipping classes which led to the exchange of words.
“The guilty will not be spared,” Chatterjee said. Chatterjee met vice-chancellor Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury and faculty members.
Last month, a scheduled caste professor of geography Saraswati Karketta alleged insult by some students and staff. She alleged that comments were made about her caste and she was made to stand in the classroom for an hour despite knowing that she had orthopedic issues.
Three other faculty members made similar allegations.
The matter highlighted when heads of Bengali, Sanskrit, economics and political sciences departments, Bharati Bandopadhyay, Amal Kumar Mandal, Bindi Shaw, and Bankim Chandra Mondal and deans of three other departments — School of Languages and Culture, Department of Visual Art and B R Ambedkar Study Centre — resigned on Monday.
“I met the professors and requested them not to resign. I told them that we cannot let these things happen in an institute named after Tagore. Student-teacher relation should be protected at all cost. I told the teachers and students that they must attend all classes. The inquiry committee has to submit its report fast and it should be made public. I told the students to apologise to the teachers who felt insulted,” Hindustan Times quoted Chatterjee.
Kerketta has not been coming to the university after the incident. “Her phone is switched off. Otherwise, I could have talked to her and connected the call to chief minister Mamata Banerjee,” Chatterjee said.
Another professor Joyeeta Roy also alleged harassment and insult to have become a norm. “Casteist slurs have become a regular feature on campus. We will not tolerate this,” said Roy who happens to be a member of TMC’s teachers’ union.
The government has ordered an inquiry. Chatterjee said that he has not accepted the resignations.