The need for diligence and sensitivity towards complaints of sexual harassment by students and faculty in the higher educational institutions came to the fore again in the wake of the recent rape and blackmail against an engineering graduate in Agiripalli.
The University Grants Commission mandates every university and its affiliated colleges to have Internal Complaints Committee and a grievance cell to address the issues of eve-teasing, sexual harassment and others that take place on or out of the campuses involving persons belonging to the institution.
It also asked the institutions to provide a grievance registration option on their websites so that victims of sexual harassment can complain but only a few have such facility.
In the case of the college where the rape victim was studying at the time of the incident in 2017, the college has a grievance cell in place as per the university rules.
However, the college failed to inform the police about the complaint by the girl’s parents regarding harassment by two seniors who were now booked for rape. The same has put the college in question now as the police are going to probe its role. Nuzvid DSP K. Prasad told reporters that the college’s role would be probed after taking legal advice.
AP Mahila Commission chairperson Nannapaneni Rajakumari said it was the responsibility of the college to inform the police considering the gravity of the complaint. “All the institutions should be stricter in dealing cases of sexual harassment and inform the police about serious complaints besides suspending the students or the faculty accused,” she told
On Saturday, Ms. Rajakumari visited the college and inquired about the incident. “I have found that the girl complained of circulation of morphed obscene images of her by the accused when the issue came to the notice of her parents in May. The college took written statements from the accused and let them go but did not inform the police,” she said.
“All the colleges should have grievance cells to deal with such cases and take strict action against the guilty besides informing the police or the government when needed,” she said.
She said the victims must come forward and lodge a complaint without hesitation. “The government and the police would protect the identity of the victims and ensure that the culprits are arrested at the earliest. Holding up the issue would only cause more troubles to victims like the one in the recent case.”
In January, Prof. K. Babulu of the JNTU, Kakinada, was arrested only after students protested and demanded action by the university.
In May, medicos at the SV Medical College alleged sexual harassment by three professors and wrote a letter to the Governor even as the complaint was being dealt with the University’s committee.
A couple of weeks ago, a B. Tech graduate committed suicide alleging that her boyfriend, assistant lecturer in the same college where she completed graduation, cheated her on the pretext of marriage.
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