A four-member Punjab University (PU) committee comprising Dr Rajesh Gill, Dr Charanjit Sohi, Dr Dinesh Kumar and Dr Jagwant Singh, all senate members, on Tuesday visited Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College for Women, Dasuya, to inquire into alleged sexual harassment charges leveled by five lecturers against a centre superintendent. The lecturers had also alleged subsequent persecution at the hands of college authorities, as four of the five complainants have been shunted out.
The team, heard out the complainants and the college management, first together, and then separately. However, no details were divulged to the media. The centre superintendent, who was not called on Tuesday, would be asked to appear before the committee later, he added.
Dr Jagwant Singh said that the committee provided ample opportunity to the parties to make their representations.
"Our inquiry is not yet complete. We are still to hear the man against whom charges of inappropriate behaviour have been levelled. We will hold a separate meeting with him," said Jagwant.
He added that a report would be submitted to the university at the earliest.
Three of the four complainants, who had been fired by the management for having 'dared' to report the matter to the university authorities, were also called by the team. The fourth teacher is out of the country. The fifth complainant, head of the English department, Dr Nargis Dhillon, was also heard.
The teachers had also complained to university vice-chancellor Prof AK Grover and College Development Council dean Naval Kishore about the 'morally objectionable behaviour' of the centre superintendent, deputed in the college in December last to conduct semester examinations. They had alleged that the college authorities not only refused to entertain their complaint, but asked them to 'adjust', and when they approached the higher authorities, the managing committee members became vindictive.
Dr Dhillon alleged that the management was constantly harassing her and finding excuses to show her the door. College authorities, however, refuted the charges and maintained that it were the complainants who had misbehaved with the said superintendent.
Mediapersons, who had gathered outside the college, were not allowed entry in the college premises. Several attempts were made to contact the management on the phone, but without success.
PU vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover however, said that it was a serious matter. "The fact that a team has been sent to inquire in to the matter within days of receipt of the complaint, speaks about the urgency with which we have taken the matter. Let us see what the committee reports," he said, when contacted over the phone.