Sikkim University speaks out on the case of sexual assault in the campus
Gangtok, August 27: Following the complaint lodged at Ranipool Police Station, East Sikkim on August 22, concerning sexual harassment against a female faculty member of Sikkim University by Dr Dinesh Kumar Ahirwar, Assistant Professor of Department of Peace and Conflict Studies and Management at Sikkim University, the perpetrator who had been accused of sexually harassing and stalking the complainant since January, was booked by police on August 24.
It has also come to light that the complainant had warned the accused on several occasions, blocked his calls and social media accounts, leading the accused to email her sexual content. It was so reported that the accused had on two occasions visited the house of the complainant with no invitation, after which the complainant vocalized her discomfort to the accused, who in turn tried to intimidate her.
T.K. Paul, the Registrar of Sikkim University has said that an Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) has been forwarded and informed of the incident, who will be conducting an inquiry as per rules and regulations, only after which on the recommendation of the ICC, appropriate decisions like suspension will be taken against the accused.
Simultaneously both the Sikkim University Student’s Association (SUSA) and the Sikkim University Teacher’s Association (SUTA) have made their opinion on the issue vocal through individual press releases.
SUSA has said that the association has a zero-tolerance policy in matters of sexual harassment and assault and that the association will be following the matter closely until it is solved as SUSA and Sikkim University believe in ‘unearthing, cognizing and delivering justice to such misconducts so that it sets an example which should deter others from repeating such offenses.’ the press release states and have extended their full unconditional solidarity to the ‘alleged victim’.
Mahesh Rai, President of SUSA said, “We assure that both the complainant and the accused will be heard fairly as well as Sikkim University constituting the ICC to conduct an inquiry on the matter. However, we will be supporting the victim because SUSA has always maintained the attitude that women should be protected in case of such events and that the victim is delivered justice after due diligence in the investigation. If any kind of injustice happens, SUSA will not sit back, we will ensure that anyhow justice is delivered.”
“There have been instances in Sikkim University of sexual harassment which goes unreported because of the lack of evidence, with this case has come to light we will make sure that all such cases and complaints are reported to the ICC or any other competent authority, ensuring justice to all.
Also, Sikkim University time and again have been in the headlines due to such incidents so I would like to inform the Sikkimese public that sich incidents happen all around the sate, but go unreported due to sometimes ‘hush-hush’ behaviour displayed by our society among other reasons, so Sikkim University has also set an example that whenever such incidents happen, the University as well as the student have always been vocal about them and have never tolerated such events., and will continue so in the future also,” Rai added.
SUTA, in a press release dated August 24, said that the University has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons as members of the community ‘thoughtlessly commit such indiscretions’, instead of leading the society in ‘reaffirming the lofty values of gender equality and justice’.
The association has also requested the University authority in conducting the investigation with the lack of fear and prejudice. SUTA’s press release also states that the association welcomes the gesture of the accused in tendering his resignation from the Vice-President of SUTA.