The Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi has recommended a judicial probe into allegations of harassment by a professor against a dalit woman colleague, who has registered a case under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Shobhana Nerlikar, assistant professor in the department of journalism and mass communication, alleged her department head Professor Kumar Pankaj used casteist remarks against her on July 6. “He called me to his office and in presence of other faculty members said I have been spoiling the atmosphere in the department for 14 years. He further said he will not let me stay in BHU. He also used abusive language against me,” she said. She also alleged she was being targeted because she was a Dalit woman. She said his outburst was over the issue of attendance.
“As the academic session began from July 3 and attendance was compulsory, I had come to the office and marked my attendance. But he cancelled that and marked me absent,” said Nerlikar. “Pankaj also alleged I was absent in May when I was on examination related duty on campus.” The same day, Nerlikar lodged an FIR against Pankaj at Lanka police station,which Station House officer Devendra Singh confirmed.
Professor Pankaj could not be reached for the comment despite several attempts. BHU Assistant PRO Rajesh Singh said vice-chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi had called Nerlikar and Pankaj on Tuesday. “Dr Nerlikar had made complaints against other colleagues and senior faculty members in the past too. This time, instead of approaching V-C first, she lodged an FIR and also protested demanding Prof Pankaj’s arrest. V-C has decided to get a judicial inquiry conducted. The inquiry committee, led by a retired judge, would be formed soon,” added Singh.