The Punjab Technical University (PTU) got embroiled in another controversy, as the National Commission for Women (NCW) has summoned two of its functionaries to appear before it on March 20 on the complaint of six Delhi based women academicians. They alleged harassment and threat to their life and
safety from university officials including the vice chancellor Rajneesh Arora.
Interestingly, the Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has recently demanded that the central government should enact stringent law to punish the accused in gender specific cases while reiterating his government’s resolve to ensure safety of the women.
Meanwhile, Dr Charu Walikhanna, NCW member, in separate notices served upon PTU functionaries including Praveen Kumar, university consultant and batch mate of the vice chancellor and Aditya Jha, coordinator and facilitator, said that they should submit their detailed replies through affidavit in response to joint complaint lodged by six women academicians including Milli Goel, Saranjeet Kaur, Priyanka, Yamini Gogia, Samrdhi and Neetu. These women entrepreneurs were earlier hired by the university to run learning and regional centers in Delhi and Rajasthan.
“The commission may proceed to take such action, as it deems proper, in case of your failure to attend the hearing,” the notice said.
Speaking to Hindustan Times over phone, Goel alleged that the VC and registrar HS Bains had been harassing them for the past several months and the duo had deliberately terminated agreements signed by them with university to run learning and regional centers on alleged flimsy grounds.
“I am being victimised and harassed. Even pending bills over Rs. 3 crores are deliberately not being paid by the PTU officials despite several reminders,” she alleged.
In their joint complaint to the NCW, the complainants said that the commission should inquire the January 5 incident happened at Delhi and should summon the VC and other officials for indulging into criminal activities.
They said that on January 5, the Delhi police had registered a case under section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) against Kumar, Jha, SS Walia, deputy registrar (distance education), Sandeep Kajal, deputy controller, and Jha’s associates Sachin Kumar and Badrinath Agrahari.
They said that a meeting of the learning centres was convened at Constitution Club of India. “Agitated over not getting proper invitation, we reached the venue at the scheduled meeting time only to get confronted by the already deployed bouncers. The bouncers were carrying weapons and were violent. They were totally repulsive and were pushing, abusing and threatening the female members,” they alleged.
“We continue to feel terrorised, as such incidents can happen again at the behest of the officials concerned. “Since Jha, who is a BJP leader and Arora, who is an RSS worker, are politically connected, the duo can damage our future and safety,” they demanded.
When contacted, Arora did not attend the calls while Bains refuted the allegations as baseless. “We have not received any notices till date. We will go through the contents of the complaint after receiving the same and will act accordingly as per the law,” Bains said.