Sarita brought it upon herself, says Motamma

Last Updated : 07 February 2012, 18:47 IST
Last Updated : 07 February 2012, 18:47 IST

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Congress MLC Motamma has found fault with Sarita, research scholar of Mysore University.

Motamma said Sarita, who was sexually harassed by her professor Shivabasavaiah, should have ascertained whether the latter’s wife was present in the house, before stepping in.

The remarks by the Leader of the Opposition in the Council on Tuesday, indirectly blaming the research scholar, were not well received by the members of the House, who strongly objected to her views.

BJP MLC Bharati Shetty, who called the attention of Home Minister R Ashoka in the Council, over the increasing instances of sexual harassment and abuse of students in schools and colleges in the State, was anything but amused by Motamma’s statement.

Shetty said the matter was yet again ‘taking a caste angle’, indirectly hinting that Motamma was coming to the rescue of the professor who had been implicated by the State Women’s Commission.

Shetty and her colleague, BJP MLC Mohan Limbikai, had earlier appealed to the State government to bring amendments to the Karnataka University Act and the Services Act, so that those found guilty can be apprehended or punished suitably.

Shetty said that though the instances of sexual harassment cases were on a rise, they were not being reported as the victims had lost faith in the system, which failed to provide “justice” to women like Sarita.

Both of them demanded that the government should dismiss Shivabasavaiah from service and said that the penalty imposed by the Syndicate of the university was “mild”. The university has cancelled his increments and transferred him to Chamarajnagar.

Mohan Limbikai said a strong message should be sent to all teaching faculty that they will be dismissed from service, if they are found guilty in such cases. “The threat of punishment is more important than imposition of the punishment,” he said.

Dress code
Joining the issue, Motamma - apart from airing her opinion about Sarita - said the government should introduce a dress code mandatorily, apart from banning use of cellphones in all educational institutions.

She said parents too should be educated about the necessity of a dress code.

Harassment in parties too
Motamma said sexual harassment was not confined to one field. She said women were sexually harassed in political parties too.

Ashoka, who replied that there was no provision to impose dress code in educational institutions, said the only way of addressing this issue is educating people and students about dressing ‘decently’ or appropriately.

‘Hands tied’
Higher Education Minister V S Acharya said lack of evidence in such cases is a major hurdle for the department.

Published 07 February 2012, 18:47 IST

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