Police on Friday registered a complaint against professor Mohammad Shabbir of Aligarh Muslim University under sections 354, 354a and 504 of the IPC after an LLM first year student accused him of sexual harassment.
The student also sent a letter to the National Commission for Women (NCW) regarding her complaint. The accused professor, meanwhile, is absconding.
Superintendent of police (city) Pankaj Pandey confirmed that a complaint had been lodged against Prof Shabbir by a student. An investigation is going on and action would be taken thereafter, he said.
The professor, who was chairman of the law department, was suspended by the varsity on Thursday on the basis of a preliminary inquiry. The student, who hails from Kashmir, alleged that professor Shabbir had called her in his cabin for project work on December 3, where he molested and attempted to rape her.
Meanwhile, women’s groups and academic bodies lashed out against the accused teacher. Central Universities Research Scholars Association (CURSA) president Jasim Mohammad said the body strongly condemned professor Shabbir’s act, which was not only against womanhood but was an inhuman act.
“He has violated teaching ethics, Islamic moral and the trust of students. We demand that AMU administration take action and review all pending accusations of sexual abuse,” he said.
Officiating vice-chancellor Mohammad Khalid Azam said the university had taken the issue very seriously and set up an inquiry by the Women’s Grievances Cell, following which the professor was suspended.
However, women activists expressed unhappiness over the working of the cell and the lack of action taken by AMU authorities in other such cases. Activist Femida Parveen said as many as 16 complaints of sexual harassment had been registered with the committee during the last five years but never had the cell filed an FIR, even though charges were of a criminal nature.
Parveen said AMU administration should activate the women grievances cell and clear the pending cases as soon as possible.
A complaint of sexual harassment had been registered against the tainted professor Shabbir by an American research scholar as far back as 2004.
But although a notice was issued to the teacher and he was suspended for a few months, no other action, including filing of an FIR, was taken by the cell.
Last December, Prof Zafar Ali Zaidi, dean of arts faculty was arrested and sent to jail on charges of raping a student of the Hindi department. Here too, police action came after the student approached the chief judicial magistrate of Aligarh directly.