Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Burla, Mar 9:
Police in the western Odisha town of Burla on Monday arrested a professor at Jyoti Vihar, the campus of the Sambalpur University here, for alleged sexual assault on a PhD scholar of the university.
Law department professor Dr Minaketan Sahu was arrested after the gilr lodged an FIR aginst him at the Burla police station, suprenitendent of police (SP) Akhileswar Singh said.
Prof Sahu was detained at the police station for questioning before being formally arrested, sources in the police said.
He has been booked under 376 (A) and 511 of the IPC, the sources said adding a medical test was conducted on both the victim and the accused.
According to the complaint lodged by the victim, students, including boarders of the hostel, were preparing for a seminar scheduled for today in the department yesterday afternoon when the professor allegedly molested her while she was alone in his room.
The girl was working on the computer at his room while Prof Sahu, taking advantage of the absence of anyone else in the room, attempted to rape her, the victim alleged.
When she brought this incident to her friends’ notice, the infuriated fellow students demanded action against the erring teacher.
Following the hullabaloo, the vice-chancellor, hostel warden and the Registrar in-charge reached the department to defuse the situation and tried to console the victim.
A closed-door counselling session ensued with the victim in the presence of the vice-chancellor, hostel warden, the Registrar in-charge, the accused professor and some students.
At around 7.30 pm, the vice-chancellor and the Registrar in-charge left the session midway as it continued till 9.30 pm.
The students of the varsity alleged that there has been coercion from various quarters to hush up the matter.
Sources in the university adminsitration, however, said the sexual harassment cell of the university was condcuting an inquiry into the incident.
The accused professor has denied the charge.
The incident has shamed the premier educational institution in western Odisha as it is the second such case in the last two months.
It may be recalled that a Reader in History department of the Sambalpur University was arrested on charges of attempting to rape a minor girl. The teacher Khagendra Nath Sethy had allegedly attempted to rape the minor daughter of his colleague, a professor in Political Science, after finding her alone at home when he had gone to the latter’s house in the varsity campus in January this year.
The girl’s father lodged an FIR against Sethy at the Burla police station following which he was arrested and forwarded to jail.