Hyderabad scientist arrested for sexually harassing Dalit student

Hyderabad: Hyderabad Police on Saturday arrested a senior scientist at the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) here for sexually harassing a Dalit student.

K. Bhaskarachary (58), who was suspended by NIN last month, was arrested by police and later produced before a court, which sent him to judicial custody.

Police said the scientist was booked on May 18 on a complaint by a second year student of MSc (Nutrition), who hails from West Bengal. He was arrested after police conducted an investigation and collected the evidence.

Bhaskarachary, who was the student’s guide on dissertation, allegedly harassed her with obscene messages and threatened her.

Assistant Commissioner of Police J. Narsiah told reporters that Bhaskarachary was booked under the Scheduled Caste Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

NIN had suspended the scientist after the student complained along with the messages sent to her by Bhaskarachary on WhatsApp. Director of NIN, R. Hemalatha, had constituted an enquiry committee to examine and recommend punishment.

Bhaskarachary, who has been associated with NIN for over three decades, was recently made head of a newly created department called Dietitics, which specialises in defining customised health foods to fight various lifestyle diseases and maintaining a healthy life.

A Masters in Life Sciences and Ph.D. in Biochemistry, he is a Grade E scientist in NIN’s Food Chemistry Division.

Several nutritionists, dieticians, students of nutrition sciences and women rights activists had been demanding the arrest of the accused. They had also signed an online petition seeking his dismissal.