Chennai’s Pachaiyappa College to probe HoD's casteist remarks against Dalit students

An audio of the teacher making multiple caste-based remarks and using abusive language went viral last month, leading to outrage.
Entrance of Pachaiyappa College in Chennai
Entrance of Pachaiyappa College in Chennai
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The Pachaiyappa Government College in Chennai has decided to set up an inquiry committee to probe allegations of caste discrimination against Dalit students of the college by a senior faculty member. A video clip of the head of the Tamil department (HoD) making multiple casteist remarks including that “it’s possible to tell your caste from your face,” went viral last month. In the call recording with a student, the HoD can be heard openly asking to know the caste backgrounds of various students and passing disparaging comments on their political activities, if the mentioned students were Dalit. The HoD, also says in the alleged recording that Dalit students “cause a lot of problems”. 

Previously, in 2016, the same teacher had received a warning from the college for her behaviour towards a colleague from a minority community, DT Next reports. The college is now reportedly setting up a panel to probe the matter. 

Several Dalit students who spoke to DT Next, detail instances of discrimination by the faculty member. One such student was allegedly barred from entering the staff room after the HoD came to know about the student’s caste background. Another student also told the publication that when the Tamil text Silapathikaaram was being taught in class, the HoD would use the student as an example of negative characters. 

The video has led to outrage from various quarters demanding action against the HoD. Kamal Hassan, actor and founder of the political party Makkal Needhi Maiam said, “It is the duty of professors to teach students that casteism is a terrible crime. It is unacceptable that it is teachers themselves who are propagating casteism,” and added that those responsible for such incidents must be punished and that educational institutions should ensure no further discrimination occurs.

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