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Teacher in Shimla Booked, Suspended over Alleged Sexual Harassment of Eight Students, Remains Absconding

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Teacher in Shimla's rohru sexual harrasment case of students

Shimla-A teacher of Geography at Government Senior Secondary School, Tikkar, in Rohru, Shimla district, was booked by the local police for alleged sexual harassment of girl students. On Wednesday, the alleged lecturer was also suspended. The Director of Higher Education, Dr Amarjeet Kumar Sharma, confirmed the report.

The lecturer was identified as Sanjay Deshta- a national award winner. He was awarded in 2017 while he was posted at the Government Senior Secondary Boys School, Shimla, (Lalpani).

A case has been filed under Section 351 A of IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act on the complaint of the Principal and the Sexual Harassment Committee of the school.

Reportedly, on October 23, 2019, some girl students of the school had approached female teachers with a complaint that the said lecturer used to call them in the laboratory, take selfies with them forcefully, touch them inappropriately, and ask them to watch explicit multimedia content on his cellphone. The matter reached the principal, who referred the case to the sexual harassment committee of the school. The committee probed the case and received written complaints from eight students of different classes. Following it, the principal had informed the local police on October 25, 2019.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Rohru, Sunil Negi, confirmed that a case has been filed against the teacher and efforts were being made to arrest him. However, the teacher was yet to be arrested as he remains absconding. In this case, the local police has been alleged of delay in filing an FIR despite the fact that the case was highly sensitive as it pertained to harassment of minor students. 

Along with the suspension, the Director has also ordered a probe by a high-level committee under the supervision of Deputy Director, Education. The committee would file its findings to the Director and the State government within three days.

The Director also said that a committee will also be formed to take a decision over striping the alleged lecturer of the awards he was conferred at the state and national level.

The safety of children, especially girls inside educational institutes still remain a critical problem that requires more attention from the state government. 

In May 2019, the principal of a government school in Badsar of Hamirpur district was booked over sexual harassment of a 16-year-old minor girl.

In May 2018, a teacher posted at the government middle school, Mayfield, Shimla, was dismissed from government services by the Department of Elementary Education after he was found guilty of sexual harassment of class-VI girl student. He was found to be a repeated offender. 

In April 2018, a chemistry teacher employed at a private college in Hamirpur district was booked under POCSO Act for alleged sexual assault on one of his minor students. A video of students thrashing the teacher was widely circulated on social media.

In September 2017, Himachal was shocked after three staff members -cook, clerk/accountant, and sweeper-  of a Balika Ashram (child protection home for girls) situation in Chilli of Tissa region in Chamba district were arrested for alleged sexual harassment of six girls 

Other than ensuring the safety of children, there is a dire need to recruit professional child counsellors. Traumatized minor victims of such cases always require counselling, which could involve several sessions. Also, counsellors offer a safer environment where children would be more comfortable to come ahead and speak of such sensitive problems. 

Recently, Centre’s Novodya Vidyalaya recruited professional counsellors for the majority of its schools in India, which is an appreciable step. The state governmnet in Himachal Pradesh should also consider doing the same in its government schools.

Campus Watch

VC Doesn’t Understand JNU’s Intellectual Culture, Say HPU SCA’s former Office Bearers, Seek His Removal

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For HPU SCA Officer Bearers seek removal of jnu vc

Shimla-A delegation of Himachal Pradesh University’s former student leaders and elected office bearers of the Students Central Association (SCA) on January 18, 2020, submitted a memorandum to the President through Governor Bandaru Dattatraya at Raj Bhavan, Shimla to show their solidarity with the students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) amidst the current turmoil. The signatories alleged that the student agitation for fee rollback has been met with aggressive counter, wherein students and teachers of the University have been brutally assaulted, under the implicit support of the Professor M. Jagdish Kumar, Vice Chancellor, Delhi police and political forces whose masked goons unleashed violence on January 5, 2020.

Among dozens of students and teachers attacked with rods and bricks, Professor Sucharita Sen, Dr. Ameet Parameswaran, and Ms. Aishe Ghosh, President JNUSU, were seriously injured in the brutal organized attack. And, till date, no arrests have been made and to the contrary criminal cases have been filed against the JNUSU office bearers and other students, they said.           

They also said that JNU has been the second best ranked University in India, first being IISc Bangalore, by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), MHRD, for its knowledge generation, academic outputs, briefly, owing to five parameters viz. (i) teaching, learning and resources; (ii) research, productivity, impact and IPR (RPII), (iii) graduation outcome, (iv) outreach and inclusivity and (v) perception.

Apart from the contribution of JNU to the overall human resource development and contribution to the national development as is evident from these criteria, the last stated criterion, ‘perception’, is the most important in the present scenario wherein 24×7 propaganda machinery is working hard to defame this esteemed centre of learning, they said.  Its academic preeminence has again been affirmed recently as out of 32 candidates selected as IES Officers, 18 are alumni of JNU. Thereafter, the Union HRD Minister also had to state ‘JNU is Our Top University’, they added.

The memorandum said that along with this, it is not out of place to put here that JNU also has earlier been considered a prestigious University world around. It has kept alive the very spirit of the debate in Indian Parliament when the bill for its establishment was placed for discussion as in the Rajya Sabha on 1 September 1965 by the then minister of education, M.C. Chagla. During the discussion on the bill, Bhushan Gupta, MP, voiced the opinion that ‘….this should not be yet another university…and one thing that this University should ensure was to keep noble ideas in mind and provide accessibility to students from weaker sections of society.’ And since the JNU Act came into force on 22 April 1969, the students and the faculty of this University did not let the Indian Parliament down and hugely contributed to take this University to the top by way of a work culture unique in India.

Today, JNU is also known for its alumni who occupy important bureaucratic and ministerial positions in India including in the present central government, the memorandum said. In this backdrop, the functioning of Professor M. Jagdish Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, during his four years tenure and with focus on January 05, 2020, violent attack, on students and faculty, needs a serious look. He was selected as Vice-Chancellor by the then President of India by ignoring the HRD Ministry’s note on the appointment of a new V.C. for JNU that had a veiled warning that Kumar could be a misfit to run JNU. His functioning as VC has been detrimental to the growth of this University as comes out of his four years tenure and the recent incidents have made it obligatory that he should be sacked immediately being complicit in the mob attack on students and teachers on January 05, 2020, it said.

The signatories have given the following five reasons behind their demand to remove the JNU VC:

  1. For the past four years of his tenure, the Vice-Chancellor has been working to “change the character of the University” without weighing the outcome of his measures. He has an ideological framework and is trying to plant a pre-drawn action plan, which is leading to a confrontation with students and faculty members and is the basis of the recent unrest in JNU where he is not paying attention to the elected bodies, JNUSU and JNUTA. For him, a decision means ‘no discussion’. JNU has an intellectual culture and has always been anti-establishment, and he is not fit to understand that due to his ‘robotic approach’. He could not understand the inherent strengths of JNU which has a culture of open debate between peers, teachers and students, and dissent.
  2. Till date, he did not even bother to meet and see the injured students showing his biased behaviour to a particular group of students and JNUSU, while facilitating the other group of students. It is in the public domain now that Professor Kumar did not allow police entry into the campus while the masked goons were attacking the innocent students despite administration receiving panic calls of the students being attacked. Even a political party accused him of being the “mastermind” of the attacks and demanded his immediate dismissal and a criminal investigation against him and some faculty members who conspired with the attackers and the security company on the campus. Even, BJP stalwart Professor Murli Manohar Joshi, Ex-HRD Minister, has sought dismissal of Professor Kumar conveying to the powers that be that the rule of law and institutional credibility are supreme in a democratic country.
  3. The Vice-Chancellor should have learnt a lesson from the Wardens of hostels, where students were attacked, who quit their posts on moral grounds taking responsibility for failure to protect students, and resigned on moral grounds on the night of January 5th itself. During the last four years of his tenure as the Vice-Chancellor of JNU, he has caused more harm than good to the University mainly sticking to his style of functioning and his ideological leaning.
  4. He has been obstinate not to listen to the grievances and demands raised by the JNUSU. Despite the fact that students proposed “first step” towards resolving the deadlock that they were ready to register for the new semester by only paying the tuition fees and not the hiked hostel fees, Professor Kumar did not respond to their move. It is too inhuman for him not to see the injured students after the brutal attack.
  5. He did not take any pre-emptive steps to prevent the mob attack on the students and the faculty members knowing well before the incident that something serious is going to happen on the campus between January 4 and 5. Now, after all, that has happened, he did not take any post-incident steps to assuage the feelings of the aggrieved party. That firmly confirms his complicity in this whole incident, hence he should be sacked.

 

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Campus Watch

Hamirpur’s Reena Among 100 Meritorious Students Invited to Watch Republic Day Parade from PM Box

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UHF Nauni Dr Reena Kumari

Solan-Dr Reena Kumari, a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Vegetable Science at the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, has been invited to watch Republic Day Parade 2020 from the Prime Minister’s Box at Rajpath, New Delhi.

She is among the 100 meritorious students selected from across the country by the Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), Government of India to witness the event. The travel and lodging expenses are being borne by the MHRD. 

Hailing from a small village Kashmir in District Hamirpur, Dr Reena was the topper of her school in class 10 +2 and joined UHF in the year 2009. She completed her master’s and doctorate in the discipline of Vegetable Science under the guidance of Dr Ramesh K Bhardwaj and has worked on improvement and development of new varieties in cucumber. Dr Reena has scored 88.00 and 86.60 % marks in MSc and PhD programme respectively with a gold medal in her PhD programme.

She was the university merit scholarship holder during her graduation and post- graduation programmes. Besides, she has also published eight research papers, one book chapter, review paper and popular article. Dr Reena has qualified various examinations like JRF and SRF.

An ecstatic Dr Reena thanked the MHRD and the university and for giving her the once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the grand parade from the Prime Minister’s box. Dr Parvinder Kaushal, UHF Vice-Chancellor, senior officers and students of the university congratulated Dr Reena on her selection.

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Campus Watch

SFI, ABVP Hold Protest at HPU Campus over JNU Attack

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jnu attack protest at hp university shimla

Shimla– The terrifying attack at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, on Sunday evening by a mob of masked assailants in which students and teachers were targeted equally have attracted criticism from students of several other universities across India.

The visuals showing rampage of a mob of masked men and women, bleeding students, and vandalized rooms flooded Twitter and other social media. The worst part of this incident is that police remained a mute spectator and let these masked men wreak havoc at JNU campus.

Not only students but teachers were also assaulted by these men, women. Teachers, who were trying to speak to media, were also heckled.

Questions are being raised on the intentions and efficiency of the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, who controls the police in Delhi.  

Following this attack, on Monday, Student Federation of India (SFI) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) staged separate protests at the Himachal Pradesh University campus, Shimla. Both organizations blamed each other for the attack.

While ABVP shouted slogans of desh ke gadaron ko, joote maro salon ko, SFI termed assaults on university students as a tactic to defame these institutes and establish dominance through violence.

Statements of both student organizations can be heard in the video below.

 

 

 

 

 

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