Despite strong demand by the Assam University students for “immediate action” against the tainted professor Dr Sudipto Sarkar, delay in actions by the authorities have started to raise serious questions about safety of girl students in the campus.
After staying underground for over 72 hours, Dr Sudipto Sarkar on Saturday suddenly turned up in the university campus to appear before a three-member Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). He was questioned for a complaint of sexual harassment lodged by an M Tech student of his department.
The tainted Head of Agricultural Engineering Department of Assam University turned up at Dargakona campus on Saturday, and was questioned by the ICC for about six hours. The interrogation began in the morning and ended at 4 pm.
A group of female students with shoes and chappals were waiting outside the administrative block for Dr Sudipto Sarkar to come out, post his interrogation. But, he managed to give a slip, AUSU, President, Milan Das said.
The victim, an M Tech final year student was heard by the ICC team, while two other students of her class were also questioned as witnesses to the mental and physical trauma that Dr Sudipto Sarkar inflicted upon her, through SMS, WhatsApp messages and Facebook posts seeking sexual favours.
Leaders of Assam University Students Union (AUSU) too met the ICC and placed their demands. The students raised questions as to why the university authority was taking so long to initiate actions against the tainted professor when prima facie evidences proved the crime.
While the students demanded that Dr Sarkar should be immediately be suspended from his service, and be handed over to police for the crime, the Assam University Registrar on Friday had asked the professor to go on leave. Sarkar could not be contacted for comments as his mobile phone (number 9435179371) was found switched off throughout the day.
The agitating students made it clear that the compliant cannot be treated lightly as Dr Sarkar has been charged with sexually harassing an MTech final year female student for the past seven months.
AUSU president Milan Kumar Das alleged that the University is trying to shield the accused professor and going soft on the issue. According to Das the order for Sarkar’s suspension or removal from the Headship of Agriculture Department, should be signed by the Presidential nominee for this post, Dr Dilip Chandra Nath, and not by the Interim Vice Chancellor, Dr Dinesh Kumar Pandey, as the order itself, would become null and void, before the Executive Council of this University at a later date.
Speaking to Northeast Now, AUSU president Milan Das said, “The Internal Complaints Committee of Assam University would place an interim report, shortly, but, for a final report on this grave matter, we have to wait for 60 days, as part of the norms of this university”.
Das affirmed if Vice Chancellor Prof Dilip Chandra Nath fails to suspend the accused, the Students Union will compel the VC to resign. But the question which is now hovering around Barak valley – why is the university authority trying to shield a professor, who has been accused of sexual harassment?