Several students of Bihar’s Nalanda University have accused the interim vice-chancellor of trying to stifle a complaint of sexual harassment filed against one of the varsity’s students. The students said the acting Vice Chancellor discouraged the victim and her colleagues from pursuing the matter legally as it would “ruin the reputation” of the institution.
“The university is in Bihar and Biharis are like that”, is what the acting Vice-Chancellor Pankaj Mohan is said to have told students when they urged him to take legal action against the accused. “Our friend was asked to keep silent about the matter and was discouraged from taking the complaint further. Even though she had reported the matter to the Internal Complaints Committee, which had submitted the report, he challenged the panel on the matter.
“I am awaiting the chairman of the governing body’s approval to execute the report’s recommendations. I have a limited powers as acting vice-chancellor,” Mohan told Scroll.in.
The students have also alleged that Mohan stopped the university’s registrar from taking up the case. They staged a protest on Tuesday demanding the resignation of the acting administrative head from all university-related roles and the suspension of the accused student. They also want the university to file an FIR about the sexual harassment case and an alleged death threat made to the registrar by the accused for attempting to follow up on the case.
Despite the committee recommending the accused’s rustication, he was only transferred from one hostel to another, a student at the university told Scroll.in. The complainant has filed an FIR in her individual capacity, the students said. The protesting students have also claimed that Mohan accused them of harassing faculty members and himself at odd hours and demanded that they focus on their course work instead. The protesting student alleged that the accused sent them death threats.
They have also alleged that their university email accounts have been blocked.