Skip to main content

"Sexual harassment" in Gujarat institute: IRMA director asked to proceed on 100 day leave after faculty pressure

By Nachiketa Desai*
The board of governors of Gujarat’s prestigious Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA), has sent its director RC Natarajan on a forced leave following a complaint of sexual harassment filed against him by one of its senior staff members.
The staff member had filed a police case against Natarajan for “constantly harassing her sexually.” The board simultaneously decided to extend the contract of the complainant, which was to expire April 30, 2017, till receipt of the report by the local complaint committee or till 100 days, “whichever is earlier.”
The decision to send Natarajan on leave was taken at a special meeting of the IRMA board of governors on Tuesday a day after the faculty members of the top institute declared that they would raise the allegation of sexual harassment before the board, which is chaired by an IAS official, who happens to be from the Bihar cadre.
In a letter, a group of faculty members had urged the IRMA board to give them proper hearing, alleging that the director and some anonymous callers had been “intimidating the witnesses of the sexual harassment case ever since the victim filed a police case.”
"We have received explicit as well as veiled threats even from anonymous callers," the faculty members complained in their letter, adding, "Over the past few weeks the incumbent director has in many ways tried to coerce and intimidate individual faculty and witnesses putting them under tremendous stress and pressure," the letter said.
"Under these conditions the faculty group strongly feels that they cannot function in a normal manner as long as the current director is allowed to have access to IRMA's resources during pendency of the case", the faculty members said.
The board, which met on Tuesday to discuss issues relating to the incident of sexual harassment filed against the director, appointed Dr Rakesh Saxena as director in-charge in place of Natarajan, who has been sent on leave for 100 days, or till the receipt of the inquiry report of the district’s local complaint committee before which the complainant has filed a criminal case.
“The board unequivocally reiterated its commitment to upholding ethical values of IRMA and its tradition of excellence. The board emphasized the need to adhere to gender equality and sensitivity, ethical behavior in and off campus, pursuit of academic excellence and commitment to rural poor,” said a statement issued after the board meeting.
“IRMA is one institution which had a lady director for five years. The Board is clearly of the view that there is no space for any inappropriate behavior on the part of any officer, staff, faculty and students. The Board is committed to keep IRMA as a safe place to work, learn and innovate,” the statement said.
Expressing concern at the turn of events, the board said, it has decided to take “effective steps” to prevent any case of sexual harassment in future. It also declared it would put in place “additional institutional provisions and structures” to effectively deal with future complaints.
In a press release, the board said, it “unequivocally" reiterates IRMA’s "commitment to upholding its ethical values of IRMA and its tradition of excellence”, adding, “The board emphasized the need to adhere to gender equality and sensitivity, ethical behavior in and off campus, pursuit of academic excellence and commitment to rural poor.”
It asserted, “IRMA is one institution which had a lady Director for 5 years. The Board is clearly of the view that there is no space for any inappropriate behavior on the part of any officer, staff, Faculty and students. The board is committed to keep IRMA as a safe place to work, learn and innovate.”
---
*Consulting Editor (Political), United News of India

Comments

Anonymous said…
Contract employees have this bad habit of making false allegations when their term is due for renewal. A fair and objective enquiry should be held.
Anonymous said…
Kudos to the complainant who has stood up and come out against such vicious creatures in our society... If found guilty, harshest punishment needs to be handed over...

TRENDING

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

TN woman's No Caste, No Religion struggle 'follows' ideals of Marx, Ambedkar, Periyar

By Sheshu Babu*
In these days of rising communal tensions, a courageous woman from Tamil Nadu achieved her dream of obtaining 'No Caste, No Religion' certificate through persistent struggle. This is quite a significant achievement. It comes alongside some colleges in West Bengal introducing 'humanity', 'agnostic' , 'secular' or 'non-religious' in the application forms for online submission for students who are unwilling to disclose their faith.

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

US Kashmiri diaspora body: World leaders, UN 'not acting', India enjoys total impunity

Counterview Desk
Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly session, to begin on September 17 in New York, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary-general of the World Kashmir Awareness Forum, a non-profit organization based in Ohio, US, claiming to focus on providing information on Kashmir, has regretted that despite "violent" behaviour of Indian authorities in Kashmir, they enjoy "total impunity" across the world.

Modi used to 'run errands' during Emergency, his role was that much: Top JP associate

By Rajiv Shah
In a sharp exposure, well-known Gujarati critic, journalist and activist Prakash N Shah, who had been among the main contact persons of Jay Prakash Narayan (JP) in Gujarat, has recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “merely running errands” during the Emergency (1975-77) period, adding the PM’s stature has been “sought to be unnecessarily inflated”, though adding, he is not saying this to “belittle him.”

Jharkhand riverine terminal: 485 families 'displaced', lose land, livelihood in Sahibgunj

Counterview Desk
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposes to inaugurate on Thursday India’s second riverine Multi-Modal terminal (MMT) at Sahibganj in Jharkhand, built at a cost of Rs 290 crore reportedly in a record time of about two years, several civil rights organizations* have said that the government has failed to address the high-profile terminal’s social and environmental concerns.

Now clampdown on rally, arrest of pro-freedom activists in Pak-occupied Kashmir

Counterview Desk
In a fresh evidence, international human rights organizations are not just confining their attention on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), whose special status was taken away by the Government of India in early August, leading to an unprecedented clampdown on the region. They have simultaneously begun focusing on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the situation is said to be worsening.
Thus, the International Human Rights Council ((IHRC) Hong Kong (HK), a top human rights organisation, said to be working towards to the promotion peace, equality, fundamental rights and social justice “as enunciated in the UN Human Rights Charter and other instruments of human rights”, has noted now a new wave of independence movement has struck PoK.  With offices in US, UK, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and having Kirity Roy and Lenin Raghuvanshi as IHRC office bearers from India, in a statement, it has claimed that on September 7 one of the biggest pro-Independenc…

Govt of India 'moves' to hold Assam-type foreigners' tribunals across India, warns report

Counterview Desk
A People’s Tribunal on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) has warned in its interim jury report that two recent notifications of the Government of India may lay down the groundwork for triggering an NRC process in different parts of the country, pointing towards recent moves towards this.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk
“Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

New sample suggests high pollution off Vadodara effluent channel, 'requires' action

Counterview Desk 
Gujarat’s top environmental group Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) has sharply criticized the Gujarat Pollution Control Board’s (GPCB’s) “on-serious, casual letter” dated September 5, which allegedly suggests that the top state state agency does not favour taking any action Central Gujarat’s effluent treatment plant, Vadodara Enviro Channel Ltd (VECL).