Jammu university Prof kills self minutes after suspension over sexual harassment charges

| | Jammu
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Jammu university Prof kills self minutes after suspension over sexual harassment charges

Friday, 09 September 2022 | Mohit Kandhari | Jammu

The family of a Jammu University Associate Professor, Dr Chandra Shekhar, who allegedly died by suicide inside his office chamber minutes after he was handed over his suspension letter over allegations of sexual harassment on Wednesday, has demanded an impartial inquiry and severe punishment for those found guilty in the matter.

At the same time, the shocking incident on the campus has also opened up a pandora's box amid allegations of casteist behaviour towards the faculty member by a section of faculty members who tried to prevent him from becoming  Head of the Psychology department.

Dr Chandra Shekhar was due for promotion and likely to take over the charge of the Headship of the department at the end of this month.

Speaking to a Jammu based news portal The Straight Line inside her University apartment Dr Neeta Chandra, wife of deceased Associate Professor, demanded an impartial inquiry from the Jammu University Vice Chancellor Prof Umesh Rai.

Dr Neeta Chandra alleged, "My husband faced harassment in the department for a long time. He was due for promotion and supposed to take over the headship as the current HOD Prof Arti Bakhshi was retiring".

She alleged it appears a conspiracy was hatched to prevent my husband from becoming Head of the Department. Dr Neeta went on to allege my husband was also the victim of casteism in the University campus. "He was often ignored by his colleagues by way of not offering him the chair during official events". "I have myself experienced this kind of behaviour on certain occasions". Referring to the allegation of sexual misconduct levelled against her  husband, Dr Neeta Chandra claimed, "Allegations levelled against my husband were baseless. He has been  teaching in the Jammu University since 2007. He was a competent academician and his hands were full of work.

Meanwhile, Jammu University Dean Students Welfare (DSW) Prof Prakash Anthal  had told reporters late Wednesday evening  Dr Shekhar was placed under suspension by a departmental inquiry committee looking into a complaint filed by some female students against him a few days ago.

“When Shekhar came to know about his suspension, he locked himself in a room  and was later found hanging from the ceiling fan,” stated Prof Anthal. Ironically, the role of the Jammu University's  Committee against Sexual Harassment ( CASH committee) has also come under the scanner. 

According to Prof Prakash Anthal, a complaint of sexual harassment was filed by over 20 students on September 1  against Dr. Chandra Shekhar to the Vice Chancellors’ office. The vice chancellor's office handed over the matter to GSCASH Committee of the university, to look into the matters pertaining to sexual harassment.

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