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

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Evolution of Sardar Patel's understanding of those 'involved' in Gandhi's assassination

By Shamsul Islam*  As the world mourns the 73rd anniversary of MK Gandhi's assassination by Hindutva terrorists on January 30, 1948, RSS, the most prominent flag-bearer of Hindutva politics, whose cadres rule India today, is found reacting angrily to the reality – that the criminals who assassinated Gandhiji were not only part of the ideological world-view of Hindu Mahasabha (led by VD Savarkar) and RSS brand of Hindu nationalism but were also connected with these. 

No Election Commission safeguard against electromagnetic hacking of EVM: Study

Counterview Desk  Releasing a new study simultaneously in Chennai and Kolkata in view of the forthcoming elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE) – a civil society initiative – has regretted “lack of integrity of EVM voting”, pointing out, the Election Commission of India (ECI) does not appear to safeguard against the possibilities of ‘side-channel attacks’, i.e, hacking electronic devices through electromagnetic and other methods.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.