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Irani meets St Stephen’s molestation victim, issues directives

Smirti Irani

HRD Minister Smriti Irani today met the St Stephen’s College molestation victim and later asked Delhi University to ensure that the girl gets her stipend and unrestricted access to the lab, and that her research supervisor is immediately changed.

The research scholar of St Stephen’s College, who has accused a college professor of molesting her, met the minister, along with CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, during which the minister assured her of justice.

Following the meeting, the minister issued directives to Delhi University, to aid and support the girl.

“The minister has already intervened in the issue and has conveyed to the university that till the time the ICC completes its probe, it should ensure that the girl gets her stipend and has unrestricted access to the laboratory and that her research supervisor is immediately changed,” Karat told PTI.

“We took up the case with her and she said that she will categorically uphold the law against sexual harassment and will definitely take action to bring relief to the girl,” she said.

The victim had approached police last month, alleging that she was molested by Satish Kumar, an assistant professor in the college’s Chemistry Department.

She had also accused college principal Valson Thampu of “shielding” the teacher when the matter was reported to him. She had also made public a set of recordings which she claimed to have made during her meetings with the principal over the issue.

Taking cognizance of the entire matter, the HRD Ministry had sought an action taken report from Delhi University and St. Stephen’s College and asked the University Grants Commission (UGC) to ensure that the investigation by the institution’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) is expedited.

The girl has, however, withdrawn her complaint from the ICC saying she has lost faith in its proceedings and therefore is seeking redress elsewhere.

The Delhi High Court had ordered a stay on the accused’s arrest till August 17.

St Stephen’s College principal Thampu drew flak over the incident with repeated demands for his resignation from several quarters.