In the midst of a storm over the sexual harassment case filed against a chemistry professor of his college, St Stephen’s College principal Valson Thampu on Wednesday said the accused should be given the highest punishment if he is found guilty, but added that he was not the one to decide on it.
“If the accused is guilty of sexual harassment, he should be given the highest punishment. But, I am not the one to decide it. I am not an investigative agency,” Thampu said.
“There were allegations against Mahatma Gandhi, Christ, Prophet Muhammad. There were allegations against all reformers. Anyone who does not conform to existing expectations and practices will become controversial,” he added.
A student, who was pursuing a post-doctoral thesis (PhD) in chemistry at the college, has reportedly alleged in a seven-page complaint that an assistant professor had harassed her for two years.
The victim, belonging to a rural background, was allegedly harassed soon after her course began in 2013, following which her parents spoke to the professor and to Thampu, but to no avail. The victim has also accused the professor of blocking her monthly stipend.
She also alleged in the First Information Report (FIR) that the principal made her sign declarations suppressing the incident, a charge rejected by Thampu.
She had filed a complaint with the Delhi University’s grievance redressal cell but, dissatisfied with the pace of proceedings, she chose to file a complaint with the police.