BHU VC Backs Professor Indicted For Sexual Molestation As Faculty
In 2013, OP Upadhyay was held guilty of sexually harassment. Here’s what BHU students think about his appointment.
As the controversy over the violence at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) rages, Vice Chancellor Girish Chandra has now drawn flak for appointing a faculty member who has been indicted for sexual harassment.
At the Executive Council meeting, Chandra pushed for several appointments, including regularising that of OP Upadhyay as Medical Superintendent of Sir Sunderlal Hospital, The Indian Express reported.
Chandra is due to retire on 27 November and his move comes a day before government prohibition kicks in on 27 September, after which heads of central universities cannot make appointments two months before their resignation.
What Charges Does Upadhyay Face?
In 2013, a Fiji court convicted Upadhyay for sexually harassing a 21-year-old, The Indian Express reported.
The court order, as assessed by the IE, observed that “the accused touched her breast and thighs. Touching the breast and thighs of an unknown firstly seen woman on that day clearly indicates indecent intention.”
A member in the EC, who raised objections to this appointment, told the daily: “A member pointed that instead of initiating an inquiry against the person concerned, the university is urging the EC to regularise his appointment. It will only be clear once the minutes of the meeting are circulated”.
Tripathi told The Indian Express that the matter is pending in Allahabad court. On the other hand, Upadhyay claims he has been falsely accused. “I was on study leave (in Fiji), it was a case of extortion and because I resisted it, I was falsely accused,” he told The Indian Express.
The latest development comes amid growing anger over police lathi-charging students who were protesting the alleged molestation of a fellow student in the campus.
Angry Students React
Reacting to Tripathi’s attempt to regularise OP Upadhyay's job in spite of a sexual harassment case against him, students say his behaviour was common knowledge among the girls.
*Sita Das, an MA Economics student from Triveni hostel, told The Quint that she had been warned about Upadhyay.
I’ve been here for five years and our seniors told us right then that if you ever go to his cabin, do anything but ensure you don’t go alone. I don’t know how to react. I’m angry and extremely unhappy about it. This has become such a general thing in BHU.
*Karuna, a student of education honours from Mahila Mahavidyala, also said she's been cautioned. “In spite of knowing the reality the VC was trying to make him permanent. He is extremely biased. If placing someone in such a position would mean even the slightest harm to your students, I can’t comprehend why the VC would go ahead with this,” she said.
*Names changed on request.
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