A day after the Manipal Institute of Technology in Karnataka debarred a professor from taking classes for comparing a Muslim student with a terrorist, state education minister BC Nagesh asked why the remark created a furore, ANI reported.

On November 25, the professor had asked the student his name, and on hearing the name, he remarked: “Oh you are like Kasab”. The professor was apparently referring to Ajmal Kasab, who was convicted and hanged to death for his involvement in the terrorist attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008.

After a video of the student objecting to the remark was shared widely on social media, the institute debarred the professor from taking classes and set up an inquiry committee into the matter.

Commenting on the matter, Nagesh claimed on Tuesday: “The teacher shouldn’t have said that but it’s just politics and confirming the vote bank.”

He added, “Almost everyone everyday uses words like Ravan, Shakuni. Even in Assembly many times, we’ve spoken like this. It doesn’t become an issue. When you speak about Kasab it becomes an issue.”

Incidentally, Nagesh made the remark on a day when the Bharatiya Janata Party objected to a remark by Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge comparing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Raavan.

Kharge made the statement at a poll rally in Gujarat.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said that the remark was not just an insult to the prime minister, but to every resident of Gujarat.

Meanwhile, the student at the Manipal Institute of Technology said that he spoke to the professor and “realised that he genuinely meant that apology” and urged the student community to let it go as a genuine mistake, NDTV reported.

“I understand what was going on in his head and would like to believe he didn’t mean it,” he said in a message circulated on WhatsApp. “It came across wrong from a teacher, a person we admire, but it can be ignored this time. Thank you for standing with me through this. It means a lot.”