A short video of an educator
of ed-tech start-up Unacademy has gone viral on social media, which shows the
educator saying that tribal people don’t have brains and do not own land documents.
The educator, whose disparaging remarks about tribals has sparked outrage on
the internet, has been identified as Siddharth Singh. Unacademy, one of India’s
biggest education-technology startups, has deleted the video and issued a
statement regretting the comments made by the educator.
In the clip that went viral,
the educator is heard saying in Hindi, “Tribal log jo hote hai humare, dimaag
toh hota nahi unke pass koi, nahi unke paas koi, you know, kanooni koi kagaaz
hote hain zameed zaydad ke (Tribal people don’t have brains, nor do they have
legal papers related to land and property).”
From what could be
understood from the video, the educator made the comments during a lesson on “jhum
cultivation”, also referred to as slash and burn farming, an agricultural
practice common among indigenous groups residing in the northeastern parts of
Pradyot Debbarma, leader of
Tripura-based political outfit TIPRA (The Indigenous Progressive Regional
Alliance) severely criticised the comments made by the educator and called upon
chief ministers of northeastern states to condemn the video.
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“I urge the upon the CM of
different states of Northeast and diff parts of India to write against this
education which is being imparted to our students. Racism exists in this
country no matter how many times we try to deny it (sic),” Debbarma said tagging
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga and
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb.
Following the outrage,
Unacademy issued a statement saying, “It has been brought to our notice that in
a recent video created by one of our Educators Mr. Siddharth Singh, he has made
discriminatory and hurtful comments against people from indigenous tribes…”
“Unacademy has deleted the
original video and has penalised the Educator, in compliance with out internal
Code of Conduct guidelines. Unacademy unconditionally regrets the comments made
by the Educator and the hurt the comment has caused,” the company said.