Visva-Bharati professor arrested in Bengal on sexual harassment charges
A woman working on a Ph.D thesis under the accused professor’s guidance alleged that she was sexually harassed and mentally tortured by him
A senior professor of Visva-Bharati, Bengal’s only central university located in Birbhum district, was arrested on Saturday on charges of sexually harassing a woman working on a Ph.D thesis under his guidance since 2016, officers from the Santiniketan police station in Bolpur town said.
The first information report (FIR) was registered on May 31 under nine sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) because the woman also brought charges of mental torture and molestation against the professor.
“The accused was produced before the Bolpur court and remanded in police custody. The arrest was made after the complainant’s statement was recorded by a judicial magistrate on June 2,” a police officer said on condition of anonymity.
“The woman alleged that she submitted written complaints to Visva-Bharati in June 2022 but no action was taken,” the police officer added.
The complainant, who started her part-time research project at Visva-Bharati in 2016 with the accused as her guide, is a teacher at a college in north Bengal.
“The charges are fabricated. The complainant has mentioned specific dates of the alleged crimes. You will find that she was on duty in north Bengal on those dates,” the accused told the local media after his arrest on Saturday.
Mahua Banerjee, spokesperson of Visva-Bharati, told HT that it is not true that the university did not act on the complaint.
“The university’s sexual harassment committee conducted a thorough inquiry and submitted its report. The committee cannot take any action against an accused. The highest authorities take that decision,” she said.
Vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty could not be reached for comments.
Visva-Bharati was set up by Rabindranath Tagore in 1921.
- Sexual Harassment