BENGALURU: Karnataka’s minister of school education and literacy B C Nagesh dismissed prejudicial remarks by a teacher at an institute at Manipal while reacting to the recent controversy following an assistant professor allegedly referring to a student as “Kasab”, felt that it is “not so serious”. He asked why names from a particular community became a national issue, but names like “Ravana” or “Shakuni” which are so commonly used for referring, does not become an issue at all.
If politicians calling each other names like “Ravana” and “Shakuni” don’t become an issue, there’s no reason why an assistant professor allegedly referring to a student as “Kasab” should be a big deal, Karnataka primary and secondary education minister B C Nagesh said on Tuesday about the outrage sparked by the incident at Manipal Institute of Technology.
Nagesh told reporters that the teacher, seen in a video that went viral, alluding to the student as a terrorist and then facing an outburst that forced him to apologise, shouldn’t have said what he did. “But it is just politics to appeal to a vote bank,” he said, referring to the controversy that erupted even after both sides decided to bury it.
The Karnataka-based institute issued an official condemnation of the remark, besides barring the teacher from the classroom for now. “Even in the assembly, we have spoken like this many times. It doesn’t become an issue. When someone speaks about Kasab, it becomes one. Why?'” Nagesh said.
In the video, recorded by a witness, the unnamed teacher is seen defending his remark as “a joke” when confronted by the student. “26/11 isn’t funny. Being Muslim and facing such things in this country isn’t funny. How can you label me a terrorist in front of everyone in the class? ‘Sorry’ alone won’t help, sir,” the student says.
After the assistant professor insisted he didn’t mean to brand the student a terrorist, the latter shoots back, “Will you talk to your son like that? Will you call him by the name of a terrorist?”
It is unfortunate, the incident shouldn’t have taken place, the teacher should not have used that name. But I also feel that it is not such (a) serious thing, because we use the name of Ravana for many students many times, we also use the name of Shakuni many times, but that doesn’t become an issue at all,” Nagesh said. Speaking to reporters, he said, “Why the name of (a person) who belongs to a particular community becomes an issue, I don’t know. Though the issue has been taken seriously and action has been taken against the teacher. But, why some names become a national issue, I cannot understand.”
It was on Monday, November 28, that a video showing an assistant professor in Manipal calling a student by the name “Kasab”, and the student countering it, had gone viral. Later, the professor tendered an apology. The video had gone viral on social media, and the university has debarred the faculty from classes.