Skip to main content

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

A girl students' protest in MAANU
Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.

Text of the letter:

It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complaints, the copies of which have also reached me.
When these girls objected to being sexually harassed and reported the matter that was brought to you, instead of giving reassuring or supporting the poor helpless creatures, not only that you supported your accused professor but further humiliated them and outraged their modesty by insulting them from your demeaning remarks. You almost mortified them. Following are the two girls’ cases as per their written submission:
1. Khushnawaz Rashid: In a letter in my mobile WhatsApp, dated October 18, 2018, she wrote to me about how on account of petty and unfounded charges, she was unlawfully literally thrown out of the hostel and harassed by Prof Ehtesham for just being a participant in the protests against the highhandedness by the previous V-C by the various MANUU platforms.
For this, Khushnawaz was taken to task by Prof Ehtesham, who threatened her as per her letter, “I will take care of you in the department, you will be given a difficult time in the department and nobody will come to question me if I fail you in the examination.” This umbrage caused her utter anguish and mental trauma.
This was followed by a rather ridiculous, fake and fabricated allegation against her of assaulting some students in the girls’ hostel. In a shocking act by the MANUU administration, Khushnawaz was expelled from the hostel from an entire semester without giving her an opportunity to explain her version.
Khushnawaz writes: “No one had any problem with me in the hostel or department, excluding HOD, Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, against whom I had filed a sexual harassment case. I was further victimized as the person in question was enjoying many powerful positions at the same time during the tenure of Aslam Parvaiz with whom, the person shares the same interests according to Sayers.”
Subsequent to this, on December 10, 2015, the Disciplinary Committee (that incidentally, itself, is in need of being utterly disciplined) ordered Khushnawaz to vacate the hostel within 15 days, that is by December 25, 2015 but shockingly the next day she received a notice to vacate the hostel within 24 hours or face dire consequences. It is sad as sad can be as the girl was given the most severe punishment by the university in Talibani style forgetting that she is a woman.
Khushnawaz’s travails record: “I filed an appeal before the Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, Aslam Parvaiz but he did not consider it and in turn, harassed me and said, ‘I know what type of girl you are. I know everything about you.’ He even threw the appeal letter on my face, used vulgar and insensitive language against me and told me to get lost.
"This was an unexpected behavior by a person like Aslam Parvaiz who preaches religion in all his talks and in the disguise of it, does all wrong deeds and mischievous things. His insensitive behavior ultimately made me realize that he even doesn’t know how to respect a woman being at such a higher position and in a university which promises empowerment.”
Khushnawaz continues that being subjected to extreme public humiliation, harassment and mental torture affected her academic carrier very badly the way the HOD, MCJ, the Vice-Chancellor and his faithful team tried to defame her by indulging her character assassination, actually, many times forced her to finish her life by committing suicide (which she fortunately didn’t and preferred to take a stand against the MANUU predators).
2. Tasleem: In a letter dated April 24, Tasleem complains to the Human Rights Commission of Telangana, Hyderabad” about sexual harassment trauma. In 2017, Tasleem took admission in the MCJ, where she was accosted by Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan for sexual favours. It seems that Prof Ehtesham is a habitual and chronic sexual predator safeguarded by the Vice-Chancellor for the reasons best known to best known to both of them. This girl was brave enough to take her complaint to the V-C.
Writes Tasleem to the Human Rights Commission of Telangana, Hyderabad: “I am to solemnly state that I am approaching this Hon’ble Commission and seeking the kind intervention of the Commission in the matter of my harassment, humiliation and spoiling of my academic career and social standing by the authorities of Maulana Azad National Urdu University.”
Tasleem continues: “I am to submit that I am a first year student of MA Journalism in Maulana Azad National Urdu University. I come from a poor and downtrodden family. My father is a fruit vendor.”
Tasleem writes that she had been pursuing her studies quite diligently till Prof Ehtesham Ahmad, HOD, MCJ, started making oral and physical advances. When she firmly discouraged his sexually burdened moves, he started harassing and humiliating her. On December 4, 2017, she had gone to Raidurgam Police Station and gave a written complaint, the acknowledgement of which was not given to her on account of the police being hand in glove with the MANUU authorities.
For this bravado, Tasleem was served a suspension memo for the entire year, 2017-18 as the news of her being mentally and medically unfit were spread by Prof Ehtesham as an act of vengeance since she did not submit to his sexual advances.
“All this harassment and intimidation has left a serious scar on my mind and morale and has also disturbed my parents and relatives,” writes Tasleem.
***
I advise that parity is restored and situation placated by reinstating both Khushnawaz Rashid and Tasleem in the earnest as per their academic status that they deserve in 2018. Tasleem must be allowed to pursue her classes with the second year batch and similarly justice be meted out with Khushnawaz Rashid. Besides, an inquiry be immediately ordered against Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan and till it is in process, let Prof Ehtesham be suspended.
If an Inquiry Committee is constituted to look into the sexual harassment by Prof Ehtesham, I am ready to offer my services to be a member of the Inquiry Committee on an honorary basis. Do respond within 48 hours (two days).
If this matter is not sorted out within the faculty, two very senior lawyers have offered their services totally free of cost to pursue the matter in any court of law and the National Women’s Commission.

Comments

Unknown said…
Since public exposure is shameful,it may help to control the menace.But it should be free from all malafide intentions.Dr.Minakshi Panda

TRENDING

Arrest of Fr Stan Swamy: UN makes public letter seeking explanation from Govt of India

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Government of India (GoI), three senior United Nations (UN) officials – Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues – have said that the arrest of veteran activist Father Stan Swamy in October 2020 marks “the escalation of harassment the human rights defender has been subjected to since 2018.”

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.

Farm laws 'precursor' to free trade deal envisaged by US corporates to allow GMO

By Rajiv Shah Did the Government of India come up with the three farm laws, first rushed by promulgating ordinances in June 2020, to not just open the country’s agricultural sector to the corporate sector but also as a precursor to comply with the requirements of the United States for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as envisaged by the outgoing US president Donald Trump?

Modi govt 'implementing' IMF-envisaged corporate takeover of Indian agriculture

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* The surge of wealth of Indian billionaires and the Modi-led BJP government’s onslaught on poor, marginalised and farmers continue to grow simultaneously as masses face annihilating pandemic of coronavirus. There is 90 % rise of Indian billionaire’s wealth over last one decade. It is not accidental.

Differing from Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah holds a 'different' theory of caste system

By Banavath Aravind* I was introduced to Kancha Ilaiah’s work when I was about 20 years old. He was then in the midst of a controversy for a chapter in his book "Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution", which termed the Baniya community as social smugglers. During many of his debates, I had come to notice his undeterred fighting spirit in trying to bring up certain fundamental social issues that were hitherto undiscussed. I eventually came across some of his works and started reading them silently. I’m deliberately stressing upon the word ‘silently’ here, as this was the kind of silence particularly associated with sensitive social issues like caste, religion, etc. But, as I write this essay, I feel silences on sensitive issues should be broken. Ilaiah opened up an entirely new debate that had the vigour and strength to counter the systemic Brahmanism. His methods of research were also novel in terms of going back to the roo

New trend? Riots 'expanded' to new rural areas post-2002 Gujarat carnage: Report

A VHP poster declaring a Gujarat village part of Hindu Rashtra  By Rajiv Shah  Buniyaad, a Gujarat-based civil society organization, engaged in monitoring of communal violence in the state, in a new report, “Peaceful Gujarat: An Illusion or Truth?” has said that a “new trend” has come about in communal violence in the state, where the parts of Gujarat which didn't see communal riots in 2002 are experiencing “regular bouts” of communal violence.

Fr Stan's arrest figures in UK Parliament: Govt says, Indian authorities were 'alerted'

London protest for release of Stan Swamy  By Rajiv Shah Will Father Stan Swamy’s arrest, especially the fact that he is a Christian and a priest, turn out to be major international embarrassment for the Government of India? It may well happen, if a recent debate on a resolution titled “India: Persecution of Minority Groups” in the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament is any indication. While Jesuits have protested Fr Stan's arrest in UK and US, the resolution, adopted in the Parliament, said, “This House has considered the matter of persecution of Muslims, Christians and minority groups in India”.

A new fad in India, coding-for-toddlers culture needs to be 'nipped' in the bud

By Aditya Pandey* We are all aware of the dire consequences of subjecting young kids to intense academic pressure from an early age. In India, we have coaching institutes like FIITJEE and Resonance offering programmes for 6th standard kids to prepare them for “NTSE, IJSO, PRMO and other Olympiads”. The duration of these programmes is around 175 hours – hours that could've been spent playing games and making friends instead.

More than 5,200 Gujarat schools to be closed down, merged, says govt document

RTE Forum, Gujarat, releasing fact-sheet on education By Our Representative A Gujarat government document has revealed that it is planning to close down 5,223 schools in the name of school merger. The document, dated July 20, 201 was released by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Gujarat. It shows that the worst-affected districts because of this merger are those which are populated by marginalized communities – especially tribals, Dalits and minorities, said RTE Forum’s Gujarat convener Mujahid Nafees.

Consumption pattern, not economic shock behind 'poor' child health indicators

By Neeraj Kumar, Arup Mitra* The findings of the latest round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) conducted in 2019-20 covering 22 States/UTs under Phase-I  present a somewhat disappointing picture of children’s health in India. Majority of the experts, based on prima facie evidence, just highlighted the deteriorating sign of child health in terms of increase in proportion of stunted and underweight children in most of the phase-I states/UTs over last two rounds of NFHS (2015-16 to 2019-20).