PhD scholar alleges sexual harassment against Bhubaneswar IIT Prof

Bhubaneswar: Odisha could boast of producing so many talents from IIT in its capital city, but an allegation of sexual harassment against a Professor mars the reputation of the premier institution.

A PhD scholar from neighbouring state West Bengal leveled a sexual harassment and abuse allegation against her professor in Bhubaneswar IIT seeking Chief Minister and Prime Minister’s intervention for justice.

The professor is also accused of torturing mentally the student’s husband, who is also pursuing PhD at Bhubaneswar IIT.

Seeking justice, the victim has sent a notice to the IIT vice chancellor through her counsel and urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for their intervention into the matter.

On being informed about the incident, Skill Development and Technical Education deputy secretary PK Sarangi has written a letter to IIT VC asking him to submit immediate report on it.

The notice sent to the VC by Orissa High Court advocate M Pratap said that the student from West Bengal was pursuing her PhD under that professor in Bhubaneswar IIT. Earlier, she had received junior fellowship from CSIR after completion of her MSc in Chemistry from Kalyani University in 2010. She had joined a school for job, but she left it after getting opportunity to do earn PhD from Bhubaneswar IIT.

As she was the only girl student pursuing PhD under the professor, he started abusing her sexually and mentally by touching her body many times during the class. After one year, two more students including male student were enrolled in PhD course under the professor. During the course, the girl married the male student following which the professor tortured her husband mentally. Even, the girl had to go through difficult situation created by the professor during her pregnancy. She was asked to walk through staircase upto fourth floor in the institute. She was mentally harassed while she applied for maternity leave in May 2013.

After she went on leave, the professor tortured her husband physically and mentally following which he was admitted to a private clinic for treatment in June 2014. After her delivery, the professor had approached the girl to meet him alone in her husband’s absence. Later, he started blackmailing the couple for providing them the PhD certificate. He tortured them both physically and mentally till 2016. When he failed to meet his goal, he persuaded the IIT authority to cancel her husband’s PhD degree without any notice, which was illegal, said M Pratap in his notice.

He also alleged that the IIT authority had not taken any action against the professor even after the girl student had brought allegation against him.

Earlier, she had approached the PM, CM, West Bengal CM, National Commission for Women, Odisha State Commission for Women, CSIR and UGC for justice but yielded no results.

As the probe conducted by the IIC committee of Bhubaneswar IIT was not satisfactory, the victim demanded to probe the matter once again. She also demanded the IIT authority to award them PhD degree without any condition and removal of the professor from the institution.

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