A lab technician had accused principal G.K. Arora of sexual harassment
The Governing Body of B.R. Ambedkar College has suspended principal G.K. Arora pending an inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment against him.
A former lab technician, who set herself on fire outside Delhi Secretariat, had alleged that her complaints against the principal resulted in her dismissal three years ago.
The Governing Body will cooperate with any inquiry set up by the Delhi Government and not initiate a separate probe. This decision was taken at a meeting held at Haryana Bhawan on Friday while the Delhi University Teachers’ Association held protests and some teacher activists went on hunger strike. The protestors were joined by Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal.
The teachers said this step may not be enough to ensure justice for the victim, who succumbed to burns on Sunday night, and they fear that the principal could go unpunished.
“This is only a small step, in fact this is a preliminary step that has to be undertaken when any accusations of sexual harassment are made…she did not have to die for this,” said DUTA president Nandita Narain.
She explained that the Governing Body’s decision has to be approved by the Vice-Chancellor in three weeks and that may allow the principal to get away and destroy evidence. The teachers have claimed that he has already destroyed crucial documents.
“He should be arrested for abetment to suicide; there is more than enough evidence to support this. We are also not very clear how the inquiry is going to be done. They say they will submit to the Delhi Government inquiry. The university and the college should be able to institute a fair and independent inquiry,” said Ms. Narain.
Her sentiments were echoed by another teachers’ group, Academics for Action and Development, whose activists sat on hunger strike.
“The matter should be probed by a judge of the High Court or the Supreme Court. He has to be arrested, we all fear that he might go scot-free,” said Aditya Narain Misra, who sat on a hunger strike outside the meeting.
The DUTA will conduct a meeting on Saturday to chalk out a course of action. “We will not be letting the matter go away with this. She immolated herself as a form of protest against the system that worked against her,” added Ms. Narain.