Maharaja’s College panel begins probe; KFB seeks strict action, sensitisation

Taking serious note of the issue, KFB representatives met with college authorities and sought stern action against the culprits. 

Published: 17th August 2023 08:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th August 2023 08:03 AM   |  A+A-

Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam. (File photo)

By Express News Service

KOCHI: The incident involving a widely circulated video that allegedly ridicules a visually impaired professor of Maharaja’s College elicited a stern response from the Kerala Federation of the Blind (KFB) on Wednesday. 

Despite the Kochi College having constituted an internal committee, comprising Dr Suja T V, council secretary; Dr Sandhya S Nair, head of the political science department; and Dr Abdul Latif Kozhiparamban, head of the Arabic department, there was widespread demand from various quarters calling for strict action against the students behind the incident. The committee, which began its investigation on Wednesday, has been asked to submit its report within seven days.

The video shows some students idling around during the lecture. One female student is seen moving a chair while a male student is seen smirking right behind the professor. “The matter is being investigated by a panel constituted by the college, and I have nothing to add,” said the professor, who was at the receiving end of the ridicule.

“Though there are media reports circulating that the victim has pardoned the students, that is not the case. He has filed a complaint and sought action against those involved,” another lecturer said.

He added that it is clear that the video has been edited. “In the video, a student is seen moving the chair. But that is not what happened. She had moved the chair to help the professor navigate towards the door. She is the one who always guides him to the staff room,” the lecturer said.

“We can’t prevent students from making such videos. However, editing videos as it suits them and circulating them on social media in a manner that pokes fun at teachers is not acceptable,” he said. Also, the allegation that the college is targeting KSU is untrue, he said.

“The person seen standing behind the professor is the vice president of the college unit of KSU,” said the lecturer.

‘Stern action needed’

Taking serious note of the issue, KFB representatives met with college authorities and sought stern action against the culprits. 

“Such action does not befit a civilised society,” said state general secretary K M Abdul Hakim. This cannot be viewed as isolated, he said, adding that victims usually condone such incidents, preferring to move on instead.

“But such actions cannot be curbed through punishment alone. The education and social justice departments should conduct campaigns to create awareness and social understanding,” he said.

According to him, no visually impaired person should have to bear such an experience. “Society, media, various organisations and the government should encourage them to overcome their limitations and reach higher positions,” he added.

'Incident unbecoming'

In a Facebook post, Higher Education Minister R Bindu said, “In these days, when there is a lot of discussion about inclusive society, the college community should work towards creating such a community. It is most reprehensible that some of them are bereft of such awareness.

“Diversity requires respect for differences and a willingness to accept them, not sympathy... the Maharaja’s incident should raise a debate about the public’s lack of awareness about differently-abled people in daily walks of life,” she said.

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