A professor of St Xavier's University in Kolkata was forced to quit after the father of an undergraduate student complained to the university that the professor wore a swimsuit in an Instagram post, which he said "appalled" him on finding his son looking at the photo. Reports say the university has asked the professor to pay Rs 99 crore for damaging their reputation.
The matter has generated intense debate on social media about invasion of the professor's privacy, whose Instagram profile was private, and punishing her instead of questioning alleged hacking of her account and how a woman's private photo from a locked profile ended up on the hands of the undergraduate. The professor has alleged either the account was hacked or someone with profile access took a screenshot of the photo and circulated it, which would come under sexual harassment.
In the letter, the student's father said, "Recently, I was appalled to find my son looking at some pictures of professor...where she has posed in a sexually explicit way causing deliberate public exposure."
"To look at a teacher dressed in her undergarments uploading pictures on social media is utterly shameful for me as a parent, since I have tried to shield my son from this kind of gross indecency and objectification of the female body...It is obscene, vulgar and improper for a 18-year-old student to see his professor dressed in scanty clothes exhibiting her body on a public platform," the student's father wrote in the complaint to St Xavier's University.
The professor has decided to file a petition with the Calcutta High Court against her sacking by the university, The Indian Express reported. She said a "kangaroo court" was held, where she was "intimidated, bullied and taunted with sexually coloured remarks" and "objectionable insinuations" without any provocation or justification, The Indian Express report said.
"I was told that a parent of an undergraduate student had found that his son was looking at my photographs from my personal Instagram account which he found objectionable and bordering on nudity. There were two pictures of me in a blue swimsuit taken in my room, which I had posted as an Instagram story last year, several months before joining the university. There was no way those photos could be still accessible since an Instagram story, by default, is live for only 24 hours. Moreover, my Instagram profile is 'private' and not 'public'...Those two pictures could not have been viewed by the student weeks later," the professor said in her police complaint, according to The Indian Express.
"It is a mystery to me how the university accessed those pictures. I felt so distressed and humiliated at that moment that I couldn't bear to examine the rest of the pictures. I was in a meeting where my private pictures were being circulated among people unknown to me, without my consent. The only way in which such Instagram stories can be accessed by other parties is by hacking or if someone took screenshots of the pictures when they had been posted and subsequently circulated them," she said in the complaint.