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Panjab University panel gets 14 more plaints of sexual harassment against prof

Doctor in the dock: Students, interns have given plaints in writing and a video has also been given to the committee alleging sexual harassment.

chandigarh Updated: Mar 21, 2018 23:07 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Panjab University panel,sexual harassment,Panjab University
The final year female students and the interns of the BDS department attended the meeting and submitted in writing their experiences of harassment.(HT file )

Eight days after a final-year student of Harvansh Singh Judge Institute of Dental Sciences and Hospital, Panjab University (PU), had complained of sexual harassment by an associate professor, 14 female students and interns, submitted written complaints against him on Tuesday.

The complaints were submitted to the members of the Panjab University Committee Against Sexual Harassment (PUCASH), meeting of which was held on Tuesday, to initiate a probe into the dental student’s complaint.

The final year female students and the interns of the BDS department attended the meeting and submitted in writing their experiences of harassment. One of the students reportedly submitted a video as well, allegedly proving the wrong conduct of the associate professor, Dr Devinder Preet Singh.

Unsafe in university
  • This is the second sexual harassment case against a PU professor after the assistant professor Komal Singh, former chairperson of the public administration department, who was suspended on being found guilty of sexual harassment for the fourth time in 2015.
  • It was a post graduate student who had alleged that Komal had indulged in verbal misbehaviour with her.
  • The sexual harassment complaint against the vice-chancellor by a varsity’s fellow remains talking point till date.
  • It has been over two years since a sexual harassment complaint was filed against Prof Arun Kumar Grover, but despite more than 12 senate and syndicate meetings of the university, the matter remains stuck as a probe committee has yet to be formed.

One of the students, who were protesting outside the department, where the meeting was held, said, “We have individually submitted our complaints and they all are confidential. We cannot share any of them. Besides the complaint, we have submitted the print outs of photographs and have submitted a video too.”

During the meeting, no decision regarding action against the professor was taken.

Award winning professor

In 2016, the Indian Dentist Research and Review Association (IDDR) awarded the ‘Golden Tooth-Outstanding Young Dentist of the year 2016’ award to Dr Devinder Preet Singh. In 2017, he had received the Global Healthcare Excellence Award and recently he had bagged the ‘Best Orthodontist of the Year’ at Indian Healthcare Awards 2018.

The allegation

On March 12, a final year female student had alleged being sexually harassed by Dr Devinder Preet in his cabin in the department.

The student had submitted a written complaint to the vice-chancellor, following which the complaint was forwarded to the PUCASH committee to take action. Dr Devinder, who has been on leave since the complaint was filed, had said that there has been a misunderstanding in the case and they are trying to solve it.

“Some misunderstanding has occurred in the case and it is still there. We are trying to solve it,” said Dr Devinder.

He reiterated, “There is some misunderstanding which we are trying to resolve as she had come to get her assignment checked from me. I was just talking to her about the work when some asthma-related complications triggered.”

As per the complaint, the professor had held her in the room.

At a senate meeting held on February 17 to finalise names for the reconstituted sexual harassment committee, members had demanded an independent committee, saying a member of the National Commission for Women should be a part of it.

First Published: Mar 21, 2018 11:48 IST