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Jamia Prof Accused of Sexual Harassment Back at Work After ‘Clean Chit’

Fine Arts students feel let down, allege ‘non-transparency’ in probe, want the ICC report to be shared.
Jamia Prof Accused of Sexual Harassment

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New Delhi: Professor Hafeez Ahmad of Faculty of Fine Arts in Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), who was sent on leave in February over allegations of sexual harassment and passing lewd comments, joined the university on Friday, after he was given a ‘clean chit’ by an internal complaints committee (ICC) of the university. However, the students who complained against him are an unhappy lot.

The students of Applied Art from the Faculty of Fine Arts had written to the Dean of Students' Welfare (DSW), ICC and the officials concerned, accusing the professor of making sexually lewd comments, misbehaving with female students, and irregularities in marks distribution based on favouritism. Another allegation levelled against him was that of labelling Kashmiri students as ‘terrorists’.

The university administration was supposed to constitute a fact-finding committee to look into complaints but till date it has not done so, alleged some students.

A student on the condition of anonymity told Newsclick, "A few days after the incident (February), we had written to the ICC, proctor, DSW registrar and Vice-Chancellor and that time it was said that a fact-finding committee will be constituted where external members, including Fine Arts students and social activists, will be there”.

The student said at that time they had also been given an assurance that within 14 days, a report on the matter would be produced. “But surprisingly, six months have passed and neither has any report come out nor were we informed that he was re-joining the department.”

The students said they had called off their protest following these assurances, but “seeing him joining back proves that there was no transparency in the investigation”.

“Furthermore, six students had filed complaints to ICC but the members behaved rudely with all students. The students were threatened by the ICC members that if the allegation was proved to be untrue, they would be rusticated,” said the student, questioning where the promised ICC report, supposed to be submitted within 90 days, was.

The students said they also tried to meet the new Vice-Chancellor Najma Akhtar but she refused to meet them.

Meanwhile, Newsclick made several calls to the ICC chairperson Sabiha Anjum Zaidi to seek her comments, but her call went unanswered. Calls to the Jamia PRO Azeem Ahmed also remained unanswered.

It may be recalled that over hundred Fine Arts students of Jamia, along with those from other departments, had held an over 10-day protest in February against their Head of Department (HoD) Hafeez Ahmad, alleging sexual harassment. He was asked to on leave after the protest had turned massive.

Also Read: Jamia Students Protest Demanding Suspension of HoD Accused of Sexual Harassment

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