After an undergraduate student of the English department at Jadavpur University alleged that she had been sexually harassed by another student from the same year, twelve more girls from the university have come forward with a similar complaint. University officials said that a written complaint of sexual harassment has been received by the authorities and the matter is being investigated.
In a joint-statement, the girls said, “We are a group of (up till now 13) women and girls who have been harassed, both online and in person, by Ekalavya Chaudhuri, son of Chandrayee Niyogi, (Professor, Department of English) who is also a student of Jadavpur University, Department of English…We have been touched without our consent. We have been objectified filthily. We have been made to feel like pieces of meat by a man who is utterly despicable. He believes that his actions will not yield any consequences,” while adding that he was “aided and abetted” by his friend, who is a professor at the Department of English at Janhabi Mukherjee and added that she had also “harassed and intimidated” them in “virtual spaces and in person”.
The statement adds, “Jointly, they have both used their privilege to try and keep us silent. Jointly, they have violated our bodies and our minds. Jointly, they have attempted to erase our own agency over our lives. Not anymore. Today, we speak out as survivors of these vile, poisonous human beings. Today, we take a stand against crimes against women, patriarchy, elitism, entitlement, privilege, and bullying. We take this stand to retake our agency, to re-establish the narratives that were taken from us…We hope that our stand will encourage others to come forward with their own experiences which they have kept silent about for whatever reasons. It’s time we all spoke up, it’s time we ripped all their masks off. Thank you for your support.”
Earlier, on July 23, a Facebook post allegeing sexual harrassemnt by Ekalavya Chaudhuri was written by one of the students at the Jadavpur University.
Registrar Pradip Ghosh confirmed that a formal complaint was registered by the girl, who first shared the incident on social media. Though the police said that they had not received a complaint in the matter, university officials said that “strict action was to be taken”.
The complainant said that she had first lodged a complaint against the accused in August 2015, alleging that she faced unwanted sexual advances through lewd text messages, online messages and physical molestation. In the post that she wrote on Facebook, she also alleged that she was repeatedly bullied by another friend of the accused, who is a professor at Presidency University, after she made her complaint.
She also alleged that his friend would turn up with Ekalavya Chaudhuri on key days and harass her in public. She added that she had initially feared lodging a complaint against Chaudhuri, since he was the son of Chandrayee Niyogi, Professor at the Department of English and was “influential”.
Soon after, others began alleging that they too had been harassed, blackmailed and molested by Chaudhuri. Post after post was shared on Facebook, with students of the university alleging that they had also been harassed, with many claiming to have proof. Officials of the university said that after receiving the first complaint against Chaudhuri in August last year, a meeting was held where it was recommended that Chaudhuri receive counselling.
A General Body Meeting has been called to pass a resolution so that formal proceedings may be initiated in the University’s sexual harassment cell.
A professor of the English department said, “We have not received a written complaint yet. A group of students approached us to make the complaint, but decided to re-think the matter and return to us on Tuesday. Previously, the first complaint had approached us in August and while no formal complaint was made, we had taken steps and she had seemed satisfied. If there is a written complaint, we will investigate the matter accordingly.”