Mahal miffed over Saig’s aggressive stance on sexual harassment case

Dr M S Mahal,who recently relinquished his post as president of Punjab Agricultural University Teachers Association,finally spoke up on Wednesday.

Written by Amrita Chaudhry | Ludhiana | Published:January 22, 2009 2:08 am

PAUTA president Dr M S Mahal speaks up finally

Dr M S Mahal,who recently relinquished his post as president of Punjab Agricultural University Teachers Association,finally spoke up on Wednesday. The soft-spoken,Dr Mahal resigned from his post last week citing “major difference in opinion” with his general secretary Mukesh Saig.

Dr Mahal said,“My decision to step down from the post of PAUTA president was not an impulsive decision. I wanted to put in my papers one month ago but vice-president Dr B S Sohal requested me to wait for some tome hoping that things would change. My only suggestion to PAUTA executive was that instead of confronting the VC,Dr M S Kang,we should keep our dialogue open with him. In any situation,meetings across the table only help and resolve the issues. If we are ready for talks after confrontation,why not choose this path in the first place.”

Elaborating on the difference of opinions with Siag,Dr Mahal said,“Our paths parted mainly on the issue of the sexual harassment case. A section of PAU teachers had sent us a feedback that as this issue is very sensitive in nature we should not take any sides. The core group of PAUTA was informed about this in one such meeting. My stand was that instead of taking sides we should ensure a free and fair trial for Dr Dulcha Singh Brar as he hails from the teaching faculty. Thus instead of stopping him from joining the inquiry,as Siag wanted,we should help the truth come to light. The female faculty of PAU too opposed PAUTA’s open backing of Dr Brar,and just before elections we had to issue statements saying that we were not siding with anyone on this issue. Mukesh Saig knew about all this yet his tone always has been very harsh.”

Dr Mahal added,“The issue came to a boil,when Saig wanted PAUTA to pressurize the VC not to grant extension to the complainant of this case. This is not for PAUTA to do,for the complainant does not belong to teaching faculty and moreover going by guidelines laid down by supreme court,this is illegal.”

Commenting on the current crisis in PAUTA,Dr Mahal said,“PAUTA executive at present faces both constitutional and ethical crisis. I have put in my papers and they are not even consulting the vice-president for any meeting. As per PAUTA constitution,the general secretary can not call any meeting without the consent of the vice-president. In its wake,all that the current executive is doing is totally illegal. As per me,PAUTA should seek fresh mandate and clear its position ethically.” Saig meanwhile despite repeated attempts was not available for his comment.

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