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Sexual Harassment in Office
- Bravely Fought Five Female Professors
|by Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee|
After running from pillar to post for nearly three months to get justice, women lecturers of Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, Dasuya, have seen a ray of hope as Panjab University has debarred the Mr. Balwinder Singh the Lecturer in Commerce against, whom they had accused of sexual harassment of females during his examination duty. A communiqué to this effect was sent to one of the complainants, Nargis Dhillon, former Head of English Department.
It is a moment of celebration. Five brave professors have fought for females and against female harassment. Panjab University had deputed the debauch to the college during M.A. Examination and he passed lewd comments and made objectionable gestures towards the female candidates in the hall. The college management, instead of coming to their rescue, tried to shield the visiting officer, they alleged.The complains adds that when they reported the matter to the college authorities, they were asked to ‘adjust’. They alleged that they also were asked to co-operate in helping certain students copy during the exam.
January 20, 2013. All it happened, in a college in Punjab In the Post Graduate Examination hall of G.T.B. Khalsa College. The man in question was the Mr. Balwinder Singh who was appointed Examination Superintendent of the College. His lady killing instincts comparable to that of Hardy’s Wildeve were all roused in the Post Graduate Examination hall of G.T.B. Khalsa college. Balwinder Singh, who does not deserve the name of a teacher, has harassed a lot of girl students who refused to succumb to his lusty lures. For others, who paid heed to his wiles and gave him indulgence, he was, however, a totally different man. He managed to provide the answers on their mobile phone. Female staff at Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa college for Women, Dasuya, were relentless in their fights against all these. They at first lodged a complaint to the college authority which sided with the culprit. Then they went to the National Commission for Women, New Delhi and also to the Panjab University for lodging their complaint.
The most painful and unexpected thing that happened was that the Principal who is herself a woman defended the accused by saying that two of the teachers had been dismissed from service on grounds of indiscipline and no notice was required to be given as both were serving on temporary basis. Question remains why the teachers on temporary basis were suddenly dismissed and what indiscipline they had shown.
She could not give any satisfactory answer. A show- cause notice had been issued to the other three.
So the victims who were brave enough did not bow their heads to the college authority gathered courage to approach the Prime Minister’s office and the state Governor for justice. Dr Nargis Dhillon, one of the complainants alleged that the management had withdrawn teaching work from her a day after the fact-finding team visited the college.A four- member Panjab University (PU) committee had visited the college on February 5, to inquire into the charges levelled against a centre superintendent. The Higher Education Secretary Chander Gaind, who had called the complainants and the college authorities in his office on February 8, did not proceed after certain developments. There might have been internal pressures. This kind of blatant siding with a corrupt teacher is not unusual in India but here the incident has crossed all limits of decency. The five brave teachers did not deviate from their complaint of sexual abuse on the campus.
Teachers had been victimised for protesting against sexual harassment at workplace which is a punishable offence now. But the authorities gave indulgence to the influential culprit and tried to muzzle the voice of the innocent teachers. The complaints were this time also submitted by the five women Assistant Professors in English, G.T.B. Khalsa College for Women, Dasuya, namely Ms. Anu Verma, Ms. Nargis Dhillon, Ms. Anu, Ms. Swanti and Ms. Harpreet, to Vice Chancellor, along with the statements submitted by the accused, College management and staff.
The Enquiry Committee held its meetings on 01.02.2013, 05.02.2013, 08.02.2013, 12.02.2013, 22.02.2013, 23.02.2013 and 25.02.2013 and tried to investigate the truth behind helping certain candidate/s in copying by Centre Superintendent, Sh. Balwinder Singh in connivance with college staff, particularly Principal Ms. Ghuman, Sh. C.S.Saini, Ms. Randhawa and Ms. Pawandeep Kaur. As alleged by Ms. Swanti dated 10.01.13, 5.02.13, Ms. Anu Verma dated 10.01.13, Dr. Nargis Dhillon dated 10.01.13, 05.02.13 and Ms. Harpreet dated 16.01.13, 5.2.13, the accused joined the said college on 12.12.12 as Centre Superintendent. From then onwards, he allegedly continued to make sexually colored remarks to the complainants.The accused wanted every now and then to indulge in whistling whenever they were passing by and due to which they felt very humiliated. According to Ms. Swanti, on one occasion, when she was wearing a pink suit, the accused said “Oye hoye, ajj tan mera pink colour di toffee khol ke khan nu ji karda”. Another complainant, Ms. Harpreet, a teacher of English, has alleged that on 18th December 2012, the accused commented when she was walking towards her room “Haye saru da boota”. The Committee took a serious note of the fact that the accused had been passing lewd comments to complainants which were reported (even if verbally) on 18.12.12 but still the college authorities sidetracked all these complaints and let the problem escalate. The repeated statements of College authorities that no such complaint, written or oral, was made to them by complainants is not correct since complainants gave written complaints dated 18/12/12 to HOD, who approached Sh. Bakhtawar Singh, office superintendent on 21/12/12 to submit a written complaint but he refused to receive it saying “one does not put such things in writing.” They had brought it to the notice of Dean, Ms. Rupinder Randhawa who in turn had immediately informed the Principal and Chairman about it. During the final interaction between the Committee and the College authorities including Dean, Principal and Management The Committee took a serious note of the fact that the accused had been passing lewd comments to complainants which were reported (even if verbally) on 18.12.12 but still the college authorities sidetracked all these complaints and let the problem escalate.
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02/12/2014 04:44 AM
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