A Dalit assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K) registered a case against four professors of the institute on Sunday, accusing them of harassment, mental torture and making casteist remarks against him, police said.

A case had been registered against four professors under Section 500 of the IPC, Section 66 of the Information Technology Act and Section B-2B (A) of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, said Rajesh Pandey, Circle officer, Kalyanpur.

“Since punishment under these sections attract less than seven years of sentence, the accused persons will not be arrested immediately. Action will be initiated after completing investigation into the matter,” Pandey said.

He said assistant professor Dr Subramanium Sadrela had named Prof Rajiv Shekhar (now director of IIT-Dhanbad), Prof Sanjay Mittal, Prof Eshan and Prof CS Upadhyay in the FIR.

Sadrela has also accused two members of the institute’s board of governors (BoG) – Prof Debopam and Prof MLN Rao  of influencing the BoG to exempt the four professors from the provisions of the SC/ST Act. The police, however, did not include their names in the FIR.

Students and senior faculty members of the institute staged a sit-in in front of the residence of IIT-K director Prof Abhay Karindkar for about two hours on Monday. 

While the teachers threatened to boycott examinations beginning Tuesday and tender collective resignation, the students said they would launch an agitation if the FIR was not expunged. The director assured them that necessary action would be taken.

In the FIR, Sadrela alleged that the four professors made castiest remarks against him soon after his appointment as assistant professor in the department of aerospace on January 1, 2018. He also said that they challenged his appointment.

Sadrela said the professors accused him of plagiarism in his thesis as pressure tactic and mentally torture him.

Sadrela said he lodged a complaint with IIT-Kanpur and SC/ST Commission in this regard in January. Acting on his complaint, the SC/ST Commission directed the IIT-Kanpur to register a case against the professors. However, the professors obtained a stay from the Allahabad high court in April.

In August, IIT-K asked retired judge Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui to investigate the matter following the commission’s order. Justice (retd) Siddiqui also indicted the professors.

A decision on the matter was to be taken by the BoG but it could meet only on October 17 after several deferments.

IIT-Kanpur provided the minutes of this meeting to the four professors asking them to file rejoinders.

While the process of initiating action against the professors was on, Sadrela lodged an FIR against them on Sunday.

The BoG decided that the high administrative grant of Prof Sanjay Mittal would be stopped and he would not be given the benefits of Seventh Pay Commission for a year. 

It also ordered demotion of Prof CS Upadhyaya as assistant professor and issued stern warning to Prof Eshan. 

The BoG also sought permission from the President of India to initiate action against Prof Rajiv Shekhar who is the director of IIT-Dhanbad.