A professor at Daulat Ram College (DRC) has been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly molesting and harassing a student of the same college. The alleged incident came to light when the woman approached the police on 31st January and lodged a complaint against the ad-hoc professor at Maurice Nagar police station.
The woman, in her complaint, avowed that the professor would stare at her and often wink during classes. She further stated that on 21st January, he met her near the college canteen and passed crude comments. “He told me I am looking hot and sexy. Then he touched me inappropriately and tried to come closer to me,” the woman cited in her complaint.
The complainant further said the accused offered to join her for a cup of tea or coffee and insisted on meeting her alone. His texts to her read, “Can we have tea/coffee tomorrow at 10?” and “Just chit chat over coffee.” When she refused, he threatened to fail her in the internal examination.
It is noteworthy that this is not the first time that complaints against the professor have surfaced. A few months back, a student from the Philosophy Department of DRC had complained to the authorities regarding inappropriate advances made by him. With respect to this, the Head of Department of Political Science said, “We were definitely concerned and held a departmental meeting because he is from our department. The girl, the professor, and members of the Students’ Union were also present at this meeting.” The matter was put to rest after he had apologised, and the Principal had served him a warning.
On being asked about this incident, a third-year student of the Political Science Department observed, “Ever since he joined college a few months back, he has been overly friendly with the students. He would make sordid remarks like “Aap Baal Kholke Aaya Karo” (keep your locks free). A strict action should have been taken against him, to stem his guts right at the beginning.”
On talking to a few students of the same college, the correspondent unearthed text messages from the same professor sent to different students, some of which read, “I need you more than anybody else” and “You are beautiful smart n.. Very HOT n SEXY (sic)”.
Diksha Verma, Vice President of the Political Science Department of DRC, commented, “Since this is not the first time we have received complaints about him, the Principal should take a bold step and suspend him. If no action is taken, then it can encourage other people to behave in the same way.”
However, in a phone conversation with the DU Beat correspondent, the Principal of the college seemed reluctant to provide answers and said, “The matter is so sensitive, the police also haven’t told me anything. I haven’t talked to the teacher also. Unless I know who is the girl involved and what is the Professor’s take on it, I just can’t keep talking to people.”
On being asked about the future course of action, Principal Savita Roy, remarked, “Generally, if a complaint like this is filed in the college, it is routed to the Internal Complaints Committee, but since the matter is already in the domain of the police, we’ll see what kind of action the police takes. I’ll assure you, it will be the strictest possible action. It’s a women’s college.” Meanwhile, the police have ensured, “We have questioned the teacher. We are verifying the allegations”.
It is well known that the fear of harassment in the National Capital can help explain a women’s college choices in Delhi. A college is supposed to be that sphere in a woman’s life where she can grow, live, laugh, and learn unrestricted. It becomes a matter of public concern if even that space becomes soiled with the fear of harassment and coercion.
Feature Image Credits: The Indian Express
Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak