Panel to probe caste discrimination in college

On June 15, an audio went viral on social media where the senior faculty with 33 years’ experience can be heard asking the caste backgrounds of certain students.
Pachaiyappa’s Government College
Pachaiyappa’s Government College File

CHENNAI: In connection to the allegation of caste discrimination against Dalit students by the HoD of the Tamil Department, the Pachaiyappa’s Government College has set up an inquiry committee to conduct investigation.

On June 15, an audio went viral on social media where the senior faculty with 33 years’ experience can be heard asking the caste backgrounds of certain students.

In the audio, the HoD besides enquiring about the caste of the students, can also be heard saying students of certain communities are creating problems for others. “Dalit students are creating caste problems. Be careful with them,” said the HoD in the audio to another student.

When asked about it, the college principal told DT NEXT, “Soon after knowing about the allegation, we formed an inquiry committee to unearth the truth of the matter. On Monday, we called in students for the same.”

Meanwhile, Arun (name changed), a second year Tamil student, who had faced discrimination, said, “All students from Dalit community and economically weak backgrounds are HoD’s target. However, she singled me out, as she was displeased with my proactive involvement in other activities.”

Subsequently, Arun explained that the HoD was disrespectful towards students in general.

“During my first year, she had healthy interactions with me. But, when she learned I belonged to the Dalit community, she asked me not to enter the staff room. She also saw me eating beef biryani at a shop near the college, after which her behaviour towards me changed drastically,” rued Arun.

He added that the HoD often used slurs and was often rude towards Dalit and poor students.

Incidentally, this paper also learned that the HoD once asked the male students in her class if they had virility. This comment, students said, was also targeted towards a Dalit faculty of the department.

“Attacking my caste background, the HoD taught Silappathikaram several times in the class. During the class, she’d gently point towards me, when she referred to wrong doers and made several insulting statements,” recalled Arun.

When DT NEXT contacted the HoD for comments, she was unwilling to speak.

The college in 2016 had issued a warning letter to the HoD for allegedly humiliating a faculty from a minority community.

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