By Ila Ananya
Panjab University has been the newest college to show everybody how not to deal with cases of sexual harassment.
The university had expelled a woman who was doing her PhD there, after she complained about how the son of the Dean Students Welfare (Women) sexually harassed her. They Panjab University Committee Against Sexual Harassment (PUCASH) referred to her complaint as “an afterthought”, calling it “false and malicious”. Her PhD thesis had then been cancelled because she made “a false complaint of sexual harassment.” For some odd reason, reports also only name the accused’s mother, and the letter from Panjab University suspending the complainant doesn’t refer to the accused at all.
The woman had filed the complaint back on January 7th. Now, following her suspension, she has written to the National Commission for Women (NCW), seeking a probe (that was obviously not done by the college) into the case.
In her complaint to the NCW, she said she was followed by the DSW’s son who was driving his car, who attempted to molest her and made sexual comments. She was driving a scooty, and when she accelerated, he intentionally hit her bike with his car. Following this, the complainant said she was asked to sign a paper by the DSW (women), which is now being shown as a reconciliation letter although it isn’t — but the DSW herself has denied this, saying she has “complete proof” that there was no sexual harassment. Some reports even say that the police had only registered a case of rash driving against the accused, even though the complainant had mentioned sexual harassment as well. The police simply said they didn’t have “enough evidence” of this.
What’s stranger still is that Panjab University has said they shouldn’t have forwarded her complaint to PUCASH in the first place, because the accused wasn’t a student or employee of the University. Her PhD guide even reportedly said, “The Vice Chancellor had even asked me to disown the student.” And while it might be true that the accused wasn’t a student, this doesn’t explain anything else — why has the college gone out of its way to expel her and cancel her PhD thesis?