Students of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee decried a professor's deep-seated apathy towards a student, who was unable to attend classes due to his father's demise.
During the video/audio call with his students, Professor Patit Paban Kundu from the department of Chemical Engineering referred to the student as 'soft' and 'not at that mental level' after he was not able to attend classes.
Stating that the student, Vedant Singh already had less than 50 per cent attendance, Kundu said that he would not excuse the student anymore. Kundu said that he would not provide marks to students with below 75 per cent attendance, as per the rules.
When the students tried to rationalise Vedant's family problem, along with the dawdling internet connection he had been dealing ever since the online classes have started, Kundu quoted the example of Indian cricketer Mohammed Siraj, who stayed back in Australia and continued the tour with the Indian Cricket Team despite father's demise in India. The cricketer's father passed away on November 20.
Kundu said that the student did not inform about his father's demise, to which, one of the students said that they were informed by his friend. The professor, in an apathetic sound, said that he had no reason to miss the class, given that everyone is studying from home. "Death ho gaya hai toh kya, ghar mein hai toh class ni attend karna hai?" Kundu can be heard saying.
Students time and again reiterated Vedant's situation and said that he might take time to recover from the loss he has incurred. Kundu said the student was taking his class for granted, and he will not provide him with marks.
The professor, when informed by the students that the Institute Academic Programme Committee (IAPC) of the institution has decided that marks for the attendance will not be counted for the ongoing session in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kundu said that the IAPC could not 'dictate' him to teach.
The video/audio recording surfaced on social media platforms received massive outrage from netizens, many of them saying that such incidents were responsible for cases of mental illness, suicide among students. One of the former students said such kind of problem existed with many more professors of the institution.
Kundu later wrote a mail saying he never intended any wrong. "On my personal account, I can tell that after the expiry of my father I had to go to South Korea and I had gone there. Maybe you are still not at that mental level, and you are soft. That's the reason you have done all these wrong things which are creating a bad name for our institute."
He said the students could have approached him in person or mailed him about the same, rather than posting the video on social media. "Instead of doing all these, you could have simply mailed me after the class to apologize to Vedanta for not showing apathy (I have shown it; that is even evident when I told all students will be allowed to sit for the exam; the additional comment was that he has to pass the exam)."
He further stated that in his 24 years of a teaching career, he had worked hard on helping students from failing, and this was one of the attempts.
"It seems that all of you misjudged me (consult your senior again to judge me). I believe in duty, whatever the consequences are. That's why I was taking the example of Siraj (the cricketer)," his mail read.
Kundu 'requested' the students to upload another video starting that he has tendered an 'Unconditional Apology' to all the students, also stating that they had misjudged him. Highlighting the sentence, he instructed the students that they must mention that they have no issue with the professor.
His resume on the official website of the institution describes his illustrious career. He has worked in various institutions including the University of Calcutta, filed 148 research papers, handled essential projects of central government along with many others.
Responding to the queries related to the matter, the institute told The Logical Indian that the Students' representative had been asked to submit a report on the incident and assured of looking into the incident.
The media tried to reach out to Prof Kundu for his say on the matter but received no response.