Students protest against don accused of sexual harassment

September 23rd, 2008 - 8:32 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 23 (IANS) Students and faculty of the political science department of Ramjas College, Delhi University, Tuesday launched a week-long protest to demand stern action against a senior faculty member accused of sexually harassing 10 male students in October 2007.The male students had complained against B.N. Ray, a senior reader in the political science department, in October last year.

The College Complaints Committee (CCC), which probed the complaint and submitted its report in April this year, had found the charges of sexual harassment against Ray valid, and “recommended that he face termination from service”.

The protesting students are demanding implementation of the recommendations of the report.

“The protest today was a sustained demonstration organized to sensitize students and make our voices heard,” said Gaurav Parashar, student president, political science department. “We along with our teachers have boycotted classes for a week. We will shout slogans against the accused and the principal, and sensitize those who don’t know about the case.”

“A year has passed since the incident and still no action has been taken and the accused is still on the university rolls enjoying salary without attending classes. This is an open mockery of the justice delivery system of the university?” said Kumar Rahul, senior faculty, political science department of the college, who had joined the protest.

According to Parashar, the harassed students had been pressured to withdraw their complaint but they stood firm. The CCC report directing that Ray’s services be terminated has given the students hope.

“Unfortunately, the delay in implementing the decision by the college governing council does not send a very positive message to the student and teacher community in the country,” he said.

The principal of Ramjas College, Rajendra Prasad, when contacted claimed that since “Ray had submitted a civil writ petition against the CCC report, the matter is sub judice”.

“After consulting an advocate I will know the legal standing of the case. Ray has been banned from teaching and his entry into the college grounds has also been banned,” Prasad told IANS.

However, students are angry that no official action has been taken against Ray.

“The ban had not been officially declared and more severe action is required,” added Prasher.

“We will seek support from students and faculty of other colleges like Hindu and Kirori Mal and the Law Faculty in the days ahead,”said Aditya Kaul, a student activist.

The students have planned a silent candle march on Thursday from the college ground to the Vice-Chancellor’s office “to take the protest to the next level”, Kaul said.

The CCC is a body that investigates student complaints and provides recommendations to college authorities.

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