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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Assaulted on campus, Bihar prof says targeted for reform initiatives at varsity

Narayan holds a M.Sc (Physics) from IIT-Kanpur and a PhD degree in nuclear physics from Mississippi State University in the US. Despite getting lucrative job offers elsewhere, Narayan says he preferred to return three years ago.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | Updated: August 31, 2020 2:31:49 pm
Amrendra Narayan

Two weeks after he was assaulted by a 45-year-old “student leader”, Amrendra Narayan (37), an assistant professor of physics in the PG department at Veer Kunwar Singh University in Ara says he is being targeted for the reform initiatives he has taken at the university since he joined.

Narayan holds a M.Sc (Physics) from IIT-Kanpur and a PhD degree in nuclear physics from Mississippi State University in the US. Despite getting lucrative job offers elsewhere, Narayan says he preferred to return three years ago.

When he joined, results at the university would be delayed because it had no computer centre. Also, there were complaints of plagiarism in PhD theses. Narayan was assigned the additional responsibility of developing computational capabilities to process and publish the exam results. This helped the university save crores of rupees spent on annual contracts for computation. Narayan has also played a key role in introducing plagiarism tests before submission of PhD theses.

Opinion| The targeting of university campuses is part of a campaign to discredit dissent

Narayan now says that behind the assault on him are people who would make money from computation contracts and facilitate PhD submissions for a price.

Narayan was attacked on August 13 by one Vivek Pandey alias Jitendra Pandey and one of his associates while he was coming out of the computer centre at the university.

“He did not explain what he wanted. When he was not allowed access to the computer centre, he felt offended and he and his associate beat me up till I became unconscious,” said Narayan.

Narayan said he did not lodge a police complaint the same day as university authorities said they would lodge it. On August 15, however, Pandey lodged a case against Narayan, accusing him of eve-teasing on the university campus, even though no student had lodged any such complaint. Police later found the allegations to be false after recording statements of over a dozen staff members from the university.

Narayan eventually lodged a police complaint on August 17 at Sadar police station. Based on it, police filed an FIR against Pandey under IPC sections of 323 (causing hurt), 341(wrongful restraint), 353 (assault) and 504 (breach of peace).

Narayan also accused Pandey of running a smear campaign against him on social media. Pandey, who had been booked in two cases of allegedly threatening professors in the past, is now absconding.

“Despite my high qualifications, I preferred to work in Bihar. Though a majority of people have been happy with my initiatives at the university, some people might be using an element like Pandey to frustrate and make me quit the institution…” Narayan said.

University proctor SP Singh said, “Local police found the eve-teasing allegations against Narayan unfounded and motivated. We took time to lodge a complaint about the assault because the university was closed on August 15.”

Asked if Narayan may have been targeted because his initiatives hurt the interests of people making money, Singh said, “It could be a possible reason. Vivek Pandey has taken a Master of Education examination and has been a controversial figure. We stand with Narayan.”

Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey said. “The case of assault was found to be true. A warrant is being obtained from court as Pandey is absconding. We are trying to arrest him. The case is being monitored by the Chief Minister’s Office.”

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