Manipal medical college in fresh controversy in Nepal

July 17th, 2008 - 3:20 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, July 17 (IANS) The Manipal College of Medical Sciences in Nepal, a venture by India’s Pai Group, has run into a fresh controversy with a media report Thursday alleging sexual harassment of a student by a teacher. The college authorities, however, rejected the charge, saying it was a “very very small incident that was blown completely out of proportion”.

“Girl student sexually harassed at Manipal”, said the front-page report in the Janadisha daily, a newspaper that is close to Nepal’s powerful Maoist party.

The report said that an Indian doctor, who is also the head of a department, had misbehaved with a Sri Lankan student Monday. It added that the student had alleged that the doctor had promised he would ensure she passed the ongoing examination in exchange for sexual favours.

According to the report, the incident sparked anger among the students, who urged the dean, B.M. Nagpal, to take action against the doctor. Nagpal rebutted the report, saying that the furore was fuelled by “groups with vested interests who were trying to tarnish the image of Manipal”.

He told IANS that the doctor had made some comments to the student, who had gone to his office to enquire about her exam results.

“The comments made her cry and it was misconstrued by her companions,” Nagpal said. “It was a very, very small incident that was blown completely out of proportion.”

He said that once the exams were over, college authorities would conduct an inquiry into the incident.

The college, opened in 1994, hit the headlines in the past when an Indian doctor was threatened by unknown callers and told to leave. Also, the 700-bed hospital run by the group made news when part of a roof collapsed three years ago, killing 10 people, including visitors and staff members.

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