College told to form sexual harassment panel in 24 hours

College told to form sexual harassment panel in 24 hours

A twenty-four-hour deadline has been fixed for the Maharani’s College management to constitute a committee in keeping with the Vishaka guidelines. The committee has been given 15 days’ time to probe the sexual harassment complaints by five girls against six lecturers of the college.

Members of the Legislature Committee on Crimes Against Women and Children headed by its chairperson V S Ugrappa visited the college on Monday, discussed issues of sexual harassment with the principal, staff and victims. During the discussion, Ugrappa set a 24-hour deadline for the constitution of the committee and a 15-day deadline for the committee to submit its report.

“One of the victims appeared before the committee and narrated her version. She clarified that she wasn’t willing to lodge a complaint with the police despite committee members requesting her to do so. I spoke to Benglauru City Police Commissioner Praveen Sood and he requested me to send the victim to at least record her statement. However, the girl clarified that she wasn’t willing to record her statement as it would affect her future,” Ugrappa told DH.

“Finally, we decided to constitute the committee in keeping with the Vishaka guidelines to probe the complaints of sexual harassment by lecturers,” he said.

Neither the five victims nor the principal have lodged any complaint with the police. “The police have requested the principal to lodge a complaint or share details so that some action could be taken. However, there is no response yet from the college,” Sood said.

Senior officers personally spoke to the principal after media carried reports of sexual harassment by lecturers. The officers explained the sensitivity of the situation and sought information, but the efforts were in vain. “Two things came to our notice during the discussion. One was complaints of sexual harassment by five girls against six lecturers. The second was about a man loitering inside the girl’s hostel wearing girls’ inner wear. There was a police complaint about the man six months ago, but the man is yet to be traced. I have requested Sood to take measures to trace the man.”

The college staff told Ugrappa that the man was working with the Bangalore Turf Club, but he was sacked after the incident came to light.
DH News Service

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