Nagpur News : The recent incident of the molestation of a Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT) student by a college professor had left the students and faculty of the college in a state of shock. The inquiry committee that had been setup in order to take action against the accused has found the professor guilty as charged. But the existence of such discrepancies and the rise in such cases in colleges has left the people amazed.
Molestation has always been regarded as a punishable offence and that in the educational sector, especially in a professional course like engineering, is highly unexpected. Despite that, there have always been a lot of cases across the country of such felonies being carried out. It puts not only the future of the teacher and student in jeopardy but also affects the image of the institution to quite an extent.
Although the newspapers were flooded with the news of the teacher being the felon and the student being the victim, there are a number of anomalies that seem to exist in the eyes of those who also, belong to the education sector. VNIT teachers and other staff members have been unavailable to comment on the case.
Nagpur Today spoke to professors of other engineering colleges of the city about this apparent incongruity that has attached a stigma to the education system in a national institute.
Prof. Mr. Prakash. S. Prasad said, “This is absolutely wrong and completely unacceptable in a college. In order to teach and educate a student, it is the duty of a teacher to maintain a certain level of comfort with the student. While that is maintained, the student must never feel any disrespect for the teacher. The teacher must make sure that amidst this candour, the student never derives a wrong impression. But there are always two sides to a coin and there is no smoke without fire. I assume, from what is going on in the country, that a young adult today is well aware of all the measures he/she must take to protect himself/herself from any kind of doubtful situation. A girl in her twenties should know that being accompanied by a friend is always a safe measure when visiting a place alone. If the victim is found guilty, he must be punished accordingly.”
Prof. Mrs. Pranjal Bogawar said, “Education and teaching, in order to be conveyed to a student needs to be friendly. But to take advantage of this friendliness is not correct. I am not sure of who is guilty and who is not but I am sure that there are always two sides of a story. A girl in today’s world should be careful and well aware of the things that go around. If a student experiences any kind of injustice of any form, he/she must go to the management for help. The management thereafter, needs to take fast decisions too.”
Prof. Mrs. Mohana Lakhe said, “If a student loses trust on his/her teacher, educating him/her will be impossible. Like this, people will soon start to lose faith in education itself. We are not just preaching facts, we are teaching the students the ways of life in a class. Children of this age are smart but yet, they are inexperienced. There is a possibility that they lose track of ethics at times. It is then our responsibility as teachers to correct them; not take advantage of the situation.”
Certain students of VNIT College chose to speak up about the incident to Nagpur Today on conditions of anonymity. While the professor continues to work in the same place, the students expressed their anger about the inquiry panel’s ambiguous decisions.
Student-1, “This incident has shaken our faith in the education system; but we are just students. We have to graduate from this college because we cannot leave our education mid-way. We urge our college management to take actions against the teacher. It’s intolerable to have a molester teach us. We feel unsafe.”
Student-2, “As a girl, I refuse to tolerate such obscenity from anyone, and that too from a teacher? It’s disgusting. We have protested and we have demonstrated our anger. We just hope that the teacher is punished so the girl can have some justice.”
Student-3, “It’s quite clear from the report that the teacher is guilty of wrongdoing. But the recommendations of the panel are not reassuring. The least they could do was suspend the tainted professor.”
This shameful episode has left a dark mark on the reputation of a national institute that will not fade away for a long time. The students and teachers refuse to speak up freely fearing the perils of their own future in the institution. Suspension was not no solution and hence, the students, teachers and parents in the city wait to see what the punishment is given to the professor.
… SHIVANGI CHATURVEDI