By Anuradha Gandhi and Isha Sharma
In Haryana, a significant development has unfolded as a group of 500 female students from a University in Haryana have come forward, levying accusations of sexual harassment against a professor.
The concerned students, seeking redress, have escalated their grievances to the Chief Minister Mr. Manohar Lal Khattar, the governor and the Haryana Women’s Commission, urging swift and decisive action against the implicated professor at Chaudhary Devi Lal University (CDLU) in Sirsa.
The allegations revolve around the professor’s purported exploitation of students, particularly after summoning them to his office. In response to the serious allegations brought forth by the letter circulating on social media on January 10, 2024, a dedicated Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been established to delve into the matter. This specialized team aims to thoroughly probe the claims made by the 500 female students against the professor.
The letter accuses the professor of “filthy and obscene acts”.
Notably, this incident marks the fourth formal complaint lodged by the students against the same professor, who has been given a clean chit twice by the University’s Internal Committee
Rajesh Bansal, the CDLU Registrar, acknowledged the receipt of anonymous letters from the previous year but remarked that internal investigations consistently found the allegations baseless. However, the current accusations have involved a significant number of students-. Consequently, the University has taken an active stance to actively collaborate with law enforcement in addressing the matter.
The detailed letter submitted by the students specify the details of the inappropriate conduct within the professor’s office, highlighting instances of threats against those who voiced opposition. The students further assert that the professor tampered with evidence, going so far as to erase CCTV footage from his room.
“We have no faith in the university. Please help us get justice… Please get this professor removed and appoint someone else,” the girls wrote. “We can’t write our names and contact numbers as it will malign our own image if no action is taken against the professor. The dignity of our family will be at stake. He has threatened to get us expelled if we speak against him. He has enough political influence.”
Fearing potential reprisals, the students have refrained from disclosing personal details, expressing concerns about their family’s reputation.
The SIT, spearheaded by Sirsa ASP Deepti Garg along with three women inspectors, has initiated the process of gathering statements from various professors. However, certain teachers have chosen not to cooperate with the ongoing investigation, adding a layer of complexity to the unfolding situation.
In response to these grave allegations, the accused professor vehemently denies any wrongdoing attributing the entire situation to a malicious campaign stating “politically motivated”.
As per the reports, it was stated by him “I am being targeted because I have been active in some work at the university. I am ready to face any probe against me. This is nothing but political vendetta.”
He characterizes the accusations as a political vendetta, presumably stemming from his involvement in university affairs. The professor asserts his readiness for a comprehensive investigation, expressing confidence that it will exonerate him from the accusations tarnishing his reputation.
On a related note, it’s noteworthy that the Hon’ble Orissa High Court has recently passed a crucial judgment directing the authorities under the Central and State Governments concerning the implementation of section 19(b). The court also mandated authorities to place a public billboard highlighting the consequences of sexual misconduct, as well as a toll-free helpline number for immediate support. To know more about this advisory in detail, kindly refer to our article: https://ssrana.in/articles/section-19b-posh-act-orissa-high-court-cuttack/