Engineering student alleges molestation by professor at reputable Mumbai college
HT spoke to the director, who confirmed to have received the complaint and said an internal enquiry has been launched.mumbai Updated: May 26, 2018 12:31 IST
A first-year BTech student from a reputable engineering college in Mumbai has alleged that she was molested by a professor inside his cabin at the institute on May 18. In her complaint to the institute director, the student said the professor touched her inappropriately and forcefully kissed her when she went to him to get a signature on a form.
HT spoke to the director, who confirmed to have received the complaint and said an internal enquiry has been launched. He said the internal complaints committee (ICC) was looking into the complaint, while the professor has been sent on a forced leave.
In her letter, a copy of which is with HT, the student alleged the incident happened around 5pm. She alleged the professor asked her to shut the door of his cabin after she had entered, and came close to her while they spoke. He then pulled her towards him and forcefully kissed her on the lips while running his hands over her body, the student alleged. The student, in her letter, said she pushed him away, after which the professor threatened her that he would make sure she failed in the exams if she did not listen to him.
The student claimed she managed to run away from the cabin and informed her father about the incident on returning home.
The director of the institute said he received the complaint last Friday and had handed it over to the ICC on Monday. The committee began its probe on Tuesday by conducting hearings with various people at the institute. However, the complainant is yet to appear before the committee.
“I met the student and her father. She narrated the incident to me. They haven’t been able to appear before the committee so far owing to some reason,” said the director, adding that the professor has been asked to go on leave to avoid any confrontation with the complainant. “The committee will work as per Vishakha guidelines,” he said, referring to the Supreme Court’s directives on sexual harassment at workplace.
However, Amol Matele, Mumbai president of the Nationalist Student Congress, who claimed he was approached by the complainant for help, accused the ICC of working in a sloppy manner. Matele said he had written to the institute, University of Mumbai and the state government, seeking suspension of the professor. “The committee asked the student and her father to appear for a hearing, even though they have now gone to their native place. If the complaint is in writing, the committee can seek a response in writing,” he said.
The director, however, defended the institute’s actions. “I requested the ICC to convene a meeting, even though it’s vacation period at the institute. The institute is concerned about ethics, values and safety of students. We have a reputation to uphold,” he said.