St Stephen’s alumni launched a social media campaign seeking principal Valson Thampu’s resignation as a 27-year-old PhD student recorded her statement in a molestation case against professor Satish Kumar on Saturday.
The complainant alleged that she was repeatedly molested by Kumar on the college campus during 2013 and Thampu protected the professor.
“I have no problem in resigning,” Thampu said. “But I must say these allegations are not of the complainant and are being used by two other people to destroy me.”
The complainant said Thampu tried to doctor her complaint to protect Kumar. “When principal Thampu called me to his office, he asked me to keep my original complaint letter aside and dictated another one to me,” she told HT. “He asked me to tone down my complaint and term it an academic problem,” she added.
Thampu said on Friday he was “unaware of the matter and had no involvement in it”. But, on Saturday, he said, “When the girl first came to me she reported the professor did not behave well with her. It was only much later in January this year that she came to me with a written complaint, saying the professor had behaved immorally and illegally with her. Her parents and she did not want me to file the complaint and only wanted me to ensure her degree was completed in time. On January 14, I filed the complaint for her.
Women’s rights activists expressed support for the student. Barkha Singh, chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, said, “It is shameful that such an incident has occurred in a premier institution. We are ready to help the student fight for her dignity.”
“An institution like St Stephen’s should empower its women students and not break their spirit through threats and harassment,” said Jagmati Sangwan, General Secretary of the AIDWA.