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Jagannath University teacher suspended over sexual harassment allegations

  • Published at 04:37 pm May 1st, 2018
  • Last updated at 04:43 pm May 1st, 2018
Jagannath University teacher suspended over sexual harassment allegations
A theatre department teacher of Jagannath University (JnU) has received a temporary suspension for sexually harassing his female students. The university administration suspended associate professor Dr Abdul Halim Pramanik alias Samrat on Monday, after taking several allegations of sexual harassment against him into cognizance. Addressing the issue, Vice-Chancellor of the university Prof Dr Mijanur Rahman said: “We received fresh allegations of sexual harassment against Halim. For this reason, he has been temporarily suspended.” On April 26, Prof Halim was reprimanded over allegations of sexually harassing a female student. His promotion was also postponed for two years. The initial decision to postpone his promotion was taken at the 77th syndicate meeting held at the university in Dhaka the same day.
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On Monday, two female students, who are also victims, sent letters to the university administration protesting the decision, and seeking a re-investigation. They also demanded appropriate punishment for Prof Abdul Halim. After receiving fresh allegations of unethical activity against Prof Halim, a five-member committee led by Dr Mohammad Shawkot Jahangir, dean of business studies faculty of the university, was formed to investigate the matter. According to a written complain submitted by one of the victims, Halim called her on her mobile phone and asked her to attend his class in February last year. The complaint stated that when she went to attend his class, she was alone there. Halim allegedly made indecent proposals to her in the classroom. The student pushed Halim away and escaped the classroom.
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On 19 February, the female student filed a sexual harassment complaint against Abdul Halim Pramanik, the then chairperson of the Theatre department, to the vice-chancellor. Afterward, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid had instructed VC Mijanur Rahman to take ‘immediate measures’ on the issue. Halim had proposed yet another female student of his department for unethical activity but the victim, fearing for her safety, did not disclose the matter to anyone. She later filed a complaint with the VC after hearing about the other recent incident. Meanwhile, students of the university held a human chain on Monday on the campus for the termination of Abdul Halim Pramanik.