ROURKELA: National Institute of Technology-Rourkela has found itself mired in another sexual harassment controversy after a PhD student filed a complaint against professor and head of a wing of the educational institute.
In the first week of April, the victim lodged the complaint with NIT-R Director Prof K Umamaheswar Rao, who promptly handed over investigation to the institute’s five-member internal complaint committee (ICC). The panel is headed by Prof Poonam Singh and comprises three female and two male members. The ICC is learnt to have submitted a preliminary report to the Director two days back.
Reliable sources privy to the incident said the incident took place around six months back. In her complaint, the victim claimed that the professor convinced her to accompany him to Jharsuguda on the pretext of some experimental tour related to research work. The accused reportedly asked to take snacks at a restaurant. But on reaching the venue, the victim was shocked to see that it was not any restaurant but a hotel room booked in advance by the accused.
The victim accused the professor of making sexual advances. The student reportedly told the ICC that there was a delay in filing the complaint as she was traumatised after the incident and feared for her career. The student community fears that since the accused holds multiple administrative positions and several committees, he should be stripped off all responsibilities till completion of investigation.
NIT-R Director Prof Rao said, “Notwithstanding the findings of the ICC, the safety and security of the student will be ensured. It is our primary responsibility to safeguard students from exploitation. The recommendations of ICC will be initiated without any delay. But the inquiry is yet to conclude.”
This is not the first time NIT-R has woken up to sexual harassment complaint. In May 2016, video of the then security officer showing him in a compromising position with a private lady guard in his office chamber had gone viral. After absconding for 15 days, he was finally arrested on rape charge. He retired from the NIT-R two years back while in jail.
Five months later in October 2016, a BTech student levelled sexual harassment allegation against a clerk in the security department. She accused the clerk of trying to inappropriately touching her.
In July 2013, an MTech student had accused her project guide of calling her to his office and making sexual advances. All these cases were investigated by the internal fact finding committees of the institute, but the outcomes were never made public.
Blot on education
The victim, a PhD student, lodged complaint against the professor in first week of April
The alleged incident took place around six months back
In May 2016, video of the then security officer showing him in a compromising position with a private lady guard had gone viral
In October 2016, a BTech student levelled sexual harassment allegation against a clerk in the security department
In July 2013, an MTech student accused her project guide of making sexual advances