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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Jul 2014

Jalandhar

Professor suspended for not toeing college line in sexual harassment complaint
Harpreet Kaur, Hindustan Times
Hoshiarpur, March 09, 2013
First Published: 19:21 IST(9/3/2013)
Last Updated: 00:24 IST(10/3/2013)

Even as inquiries are pending against the management of Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College for Women, Dasuya, it has suspended the last of the five teachers on its staff, who had complained of sexual harassment on the campus.


Assistant professor Nargis Dhillon, the former head of English department, received the suspension orders on Friday. The order was signed by chairman of the managing committee Jasbir Singh Randhawa.

She has been told that a charge-sheet would also be filed against her in a week's time.

The management had previously sacked the other four teachers, who had complained to the Punjab University and the National Commission for Women on the alleged overtures they were subjected to by an examination in-charge in December and the subsequent attempt by the authorities to muzzle their voices. The latter, however, have been refuting the charges and have accused the complainants of indiscipline.

"It is the height of high-handedness. The college committee had asked me to furnish my ingoing and outgoing telephone call details and copies of the complaints I had marked to various authorities to issue me a NOC. I refused to accept this and have been suspended for this,"said Dhillon.

"If the college authorities failed to deliver us justice, we had every right to invoke the intervention of other channels to get our grievances redressed," she claimed, alleging that the college management was now very vindictive.

"I have been victimised for protesting against sexual harassment at workplace," she alleged, adding that she had been ordered to mark her presence daily in the office, even as the teaching work had long been withdrawn from her.

On the complaint of the lecturers that they were sexually harassed by a male examination superintendent in December last, a five-member fact finding committee of the university comprising senate members had visited the college on February 4 and recorded the statements of all concerned.

Even as the inquiry is still on, teachers submitted an offensive audio recording of some of the college authorities, but when the inquiry team called some of the people whose voices were on record, they declined. The inquiry report has recently been submitted to the vice-chancellor.

While the university has taken the issue seriously, as claimed by VC Arun Kumar Grover, the NCW and the education department are sitting over the complaints.

The education secretary had called both the parties to his office on February 8, but till date no action has been taken.
Meanwhile, it has been learnt that the college student, a close kin of one of the staff members of the Guru Tegh Bahadur Education Trust, whose copying had allegedly triggered the problem, has cleared the postgraduate examination with good marks.

Sources added that she had been given exceptional assessment marks. The teachers had brought the matter to the notice of all offices concerned in the university, but neither an inquiry was conducted, nor the result withheld pending clarity on the issue as is done usually, sources said.


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