Delhi Commission for Women calls St. Stephen’s sexual harassment act shameful, demands investigation

first_imgDelhi Commission for Women chief Barkha Shukla Singh on Saturday dubbed the alleged sexual harassment case filed against a professor of Delhi University’s prestigious St Stephen’s College as “shameful” and called for a probe into the matter.”It is such a prestigious college and it is shameful if anything like this has happened. The matter should be investigated and the guilty should face action,” Singh said. “The cutoffs are so high for the college… the alumni are working on important positions across the country. The matter concerns the college’s reputation and should be investigated,” she added.FIR lodgedA PhD student on Friday lodged an FIR against an assistant professor she was working under the guidance of, in the Chemistry department. She has also complained that the college principal, Valson Thampu tried to hush up the matter and shield the accused.Though Thampu confirmed the fact that the victim had raised the matter with him, he denied allegations of trying to protect Kumar. He said the student had willingly insisted in writing that the issue not be treated as one of sexual harassment to ensure that her PhD is completed on time.The FIR has been registered under section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and other relevant sections of the IPC against St Stephen’s professor Satish Kumar in connection with the complaint.The complaint by the doctorate student had allegedly been pending with the college’s sexual harassment complaints committee for over a year now.advertisementThe victim alleged that the college principal had criminally intimidated her to give a written application to him expressing her consent to close the matter. This was in order to not cause any delay or problems in completion of her PhD. However, Thampu has not been named in the FIR.The college also issued a statement saying: Such a complaint was duly and promptly forwarded by the Principal to the Internal Complaints Committee and an inquiry, following proper procedure, is underway and nearing completion. It is reiterated that St Stephen’s is uncompromisingly committed to the safety and dignity of women on the campus and that no effort will be spared to ensure that justice is done.Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) also condemned the incident and demanded that the accused be suspended till the inquiry is completed. He is also the Bursar of the college, which is an important position in the college administration.”He was not asked to step down while investigation was on and it further led to harassment of the victim”, DUTA president Nandita Narain, who is also a professor at St Stephen’s, said.A group of St Stephen’s alumni has demanded the varsity administration to step in and ensure justice in the matter. “We demand Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh to initiate an inquiry in the case immediately,” Old Stephanians Association, which is not recognised by the college, said in a statement.The association, which has raised several allegations against Thampu in the past, also reiterated its demand of his removal from the office.”Thampu’s tenure as principal is replete with instances of illegalities and misdemeanours. We demand him to immediately step down as principal, failing which the Supreme Council should sack him,” it added.last_img

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