PhD student alleges sexual harassment by IIT Bhubaneswar professor

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Bhubaneswar: In a shocking incident, a PhD student has brought sexual harassment charges against a senior professor of Bhubaneswar IIT. Besides, the girl alleged that the professor is mentally torturing her husband who is also a PhD student in the same institute.

The girl, hailing from West Bengal, has sent a notice to the Director of IIT through her lawyer in this regard. She has also written to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking their intervention.

Meanwhile, the deputy secretary of the Skill Development and Technical Education Department PK Sarangi has sought an immediate report from the IIT Director in connection with the case.

“I have been a victim of sexual harassment since 2012, especially after my marriage in November 2012. Even my husband was mentally harassed by the professor as he protested the harassment following which he suffered brain haemorrhage. He was in coma for 10 days. Though I had approached all the top IIT officials, no one helped me out as the professor is an influential person,” the victim alleged.

Stating that such things should not have happened in an institution of such repute, she further stated that she was deeply hurt by the incident.

“I was a government employee in West Bengal and after qualifying NET, I came to IIT Bhubaneswar because of its reputation but my career got spoiled here,” she said.

“We were de-registered from PhD programme and I was forced to continue under the professor. I was threatened to withdraw the case to get re-registered in the programme, she said, adding that even though the professor is an influential person, she is confident of getting justice.

On the other hand, IIT Bhubaneswar officials have termed the allegations levelled by the student as ‘baseless’.

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In a press release, the authorities claimed that the girl was admitted to IIT Bhubaneswar in July 2011 and brought the allegation of sexual harassment on October 6, 2016.

The matter was then referred to the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). However, she was not satisfied with the report of IIC and has now raised her voice once again for justice, says the release.

Over the last six months, she (victim) has made complaints to all statutory officers, ministry and the State and National Commission for Women. She also brought the matter to the notice of all functionaries of the institute, including the Senate members.

“There is nothing pending with the institute and all statutory requirements have been completed holistically,” the release said.

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