Vishwa Bharati probes sexual assault, women's panel seeks Modi intervention

Vishwa Bharati probes sexual assault, women's panel seeks Modi intervention

The Visva Bharati University in West Bengal's Shantiniketan is looking into a sexual harassment complaint by a student from the northeast even as the state women's panel said it will seek intervention of the prime minister, who is the chancellor of the institution.

The fine arts student from Sikkim was allegedly sexually assaulted earlier in the week by some of her seniors, who even recorded the assault to blackmail her.

"We have taken cognisance on the basis of media reports. This is not the first such incident, in fact there have been several incidents where students, staff, teachers... all have to face sexual harassment," West Bengal Commission for Women chairperson Sunanda Mukherjee told IANS.

"What can you expect when the vice chancellor is himself accused of such an offence? We are writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the chancellor to immediately intervene for the sake of this world famous institute," she added.

Vice-Chancellor Sushanta Datta Gupta, as the then director of the Satyendra Nath Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, in 2005 was accused of sexually harassing a female scientist. He has repeatedly denied the allegations.

The university said it has received a complaint about the assault and initiated a probe, but the victim's father alleged a varsity official offered him money to hush up the matter. 

"We have received the sexual harassment complaint yesterday (Thursday) and we are looking into it," a member of the varsity's internal complaints committee against sexual harassment told IANS.

However, the father said: "They said that if you want justice, don't go to police, only we can give you justice. If you go to police, they will create only trouble for you."

"I had sent a smiling child but am taking back a distraught daughter. I don't think she will come back to study here," he said.

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