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Ravenshaw sexual harassment row: 2 more staff break silence

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Jan 26:

Lending weight to the allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of female teachers and students in the Ravenshaw University by Botany professor Dr Sanhita Padhi, two more senior women faculty members have come forward with similar claims.

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Dr Sanhita Padhi, Reader, department of Botany, had filed a mental and sexual torture complaint against a senior professor in her department in August last year, according to a report published in Sambad recently.

After Padhi, Hindi department Head of Department (HOD), Professor Dr Anjuman Ara and Sociology department Reader Dr Anita Dash have also come forward with allegations of sexual harassment.

The three-member university appointed fact finding team has sent notices to all three of the aggrieved women to present their allegations.

On February 27, the three-member team headed by Chairman, Council of Deans (CCD) Samarendra Mishra, and HOD of Psychology department Sangeeta Rath and Economics department HOD Mamata Swain as members will hold the first hearing of the sexual harassment allegations in Ravenshaw University at 11:30 am.

On the other hand, the three faculty members have raised objections to the institutional hearing. They are demanding an unbiased hearing conducted by an independent authority at an undisclosed location.

After sexual harassment allegations by Dr Sanhita Padhi came out in media, the University authorities set up a three-member fact finding team headed by Chairman, Council of Deans (CCD) Samarendra Mishra, Sangeeta Rath, HOD of Psychology department and Mamata Swain, Economics, department HOD as members and asked it to submit report within seven days of the hearing.

The allegations of two more senior faculty members Professor Dr Anjuman Ara and Dr Anita Dash have made the case more complicated.

Dr Ara has accused two departmental male colleagues of instigating students and other faculty members because of her religion, repeatedly misbehaving with her and obstructing the departmental work.

Students have repeatedly complained about the objectionable behaviour of a faculty member, she has alleged.

Similarly, Dr Dash has alleged that after her repeated complaints about the irregularities in the Sociology department to then CCD head Pradipta Mohapatra she was victimized and was also forced to relinquish the head of department post, she has alleged.