Law student Raya Sarkar on Tuesday responded to academic Partha Chatterjee’s demand that his name be removed from a list of Indian professors and scholars accused of sexual harassment. In a post on Facebook, Sarkar wrote, “If this is the only response, instead of taking accountability, then never mind. The list will stay for students to be wary.”
The list, which began as a Google spreadsheet created by Sarkar, features the name of more than 70 men in both Indian and foreign universities, with some including details of allegations ranging from online and emotional abuse to rape. The spreading of the list has led to a debate within academic circles and online about the ethics of such a list as well as the difficulties women face when dealing with harassment on campuses.
Chatterjee had said that his name occurs twice in the list without any description of the complaint or date of the alleged incident. He insisted that there has never been a sexual harassment complaint against him and denied ever having been involved in an incident in which he could have been accused of having sexually harassed a student.
“I believe it is fair for me to demand that the nature of the allegation against me be made known to me so that I could make a specific response to it. Otherwise, I demand that my name be removed from the list,” Chatterjee wrote in his statement.
In her reply, Sarkar said that California-based journalist Inji Pennu was updating the list. Pennu, in another post on Facebook, said that when she was gathering details from a “data collection point of view rather than names”.
She wrote: “I was more looking for university and state level as an aggregate. Not just single names, because to me that was not the point I was trying to arrive at.” She said that getting data in spreadsheets was easier to do charts and analyse them. Since this was a list meant for students, she was only looking at the overall complaints to figure out where the harassment took place, she added.
“Now to take your name off from the list, I have no comments. Sorry,” she added.