A college professor in the southern Indian state of Karnataka has been barred from taking classes after he allegedly compared a Muslim student’s name to that of a terrorist.
A video of the student objecting to the remark has gone viral and been shared widely on social media.
The college said in a statement on Monday that it had initiated an inquiry into the incident.
The professor’s comment has sparked outrage on social media.
The professor at the Manipal Institute of Technology in Udupi district allegedly asked a student for his name and then said, “Oh you are like Kasab” after hearing it, NDTV news channel reported.
Ajmal Kasab was the sole surviving gunman from the 26 November 2008 terror attacks in India’s financial capital, Mumbai. He was convicted and hanged in 2012.
Kasab was among a group of Pakistani attackers who held Mumbai under a 60-hour siege as they went about attacking a prominent railway station, luxury hotels and a Jewish cultural centre. About 166 people were killed in the attack, including several policemen.
In the 45-second video shared online, the student can be heard telling the professor that comparing his name to Kasab’s “is not funny”.
“Being a Muslim in this country and facing all of this everyday is not funny,” he says.
The professor is heard apologising and saying “you are just like my son”, but that doesn’t seem to pacify the student who says that the apology “doesn’t change how you think”.
Several Twitter users condemned the professor’s words, saying they reeked of discrimination, and highlighted the biases India’s minority Muslims face on a regular basis.
Observers say that incidents of violence towards minority communities in the country have increased under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which has been in power since 2014. Other users praised the student for standing up for himself in class.
The institute said in a statement on Monday that it had started an inquiry and the professor “has been debarred from classes till the inquiry is over”.
It added that it prides itself for diversity on campus and is committed to treating everyone alike, “irrespective of caste, religion, region, gender”.
A public relations officer at the university told Scroll news website that the “incident was unfortunate and that the institution strongly condemns it”.