Assam University at Silchar is once again caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
A complaint was lodged by two female students of final semester of Visuals Arts (MVA) on May 14 last to the Vice Chancellor, Dr Dilip Kumar Nath.
But the team of Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) took up the issue only on Saturday last.
The two students, who hail from Tripura, lodged the complaint against their department’s Associate Professor Dr Abhibrata Chakraborty.
The complaint led a team of Internal Complaints Committee of the university to record the statements of both the students on August 10 and constitute an inquiry.
Not only that, the team also instructed evaluation of their internal marks of 3rd and 4th semesters.
The two students alleged that they “failed” in the subject taught by Dr Chakraborty though both of them secured higher grades in their respective theory paper (Visual Culture).
One of the letters to the Vice Chancellor, dated May 14, 2019 read as: “As per the schedule of MVA course, I am required to submit a dissertation paper for which, I submitted my abstract of it to the Head of the Department, Prof Sivan G.”
“As per the guidelines, Prof Sivan G instructed me to pursue my dissertation under supervision of Dr Abhibrata Chakraborty.”
“Then onwards, Dr Abhibrata Chakraborty directed me to take suggestions from ‘Kaustav Nag’, a PhD scholar of Visuals Arts department, who is not even a research scholar under Dr Abhibrata Chakraborty.”
“I requested Dr Abhibrata Chakraborty to allow me to work under Dr Nilam Kumari, if he is unable to spare time to guide me, but, he instructed me to ‘personally’ contact with Kaustav Nag who desired to contact him after the university hours at his room, continuously,” the letter said.
In the letter the complainant also said that she was “traumatized by such situation created by Dr Abhibrata Chakraborty and Kaustav Nag.”
The complainant further said she raised the issue before her HoD, Dr Sivan G, who allegedly denied helping her in this matter, instead, “threatened” her to “keep quite over this issue”.
“After several requests, he agreed to allow me to work under the guidance of Dr Nilam Kumari, only on the condition that I have to keep silent regarding the whole harassment and threatening that happened to me.”
“As a result of the above, I was declared ‘failed’ in the particular subject, Visual Culture, of 3rd semester exam that was taught by Dr Abhibrata Chakraborty, whereas, I achieved ‘A’ grade marks in this theory paper in earlier semester exams,” the complainant claimed.
The female student also wrote in her prayers to the Vice Chancellor: “I performed well in the internal exams but was failed by the respective teacher.”
“I was even issued an admit card and was allowed to sit for my final semester.”
“I prepared well and was sure of getting an ‘A’ grade marks in my Visual Culture paper only to find after the publication of the result that I was not even awarded a single mark, as if, I was absent in my external examination,” the complainant claimed.
Such alleged harassment has caught the attention of Assam University’s research scholars’ body to stand up for justice for the two girls.
Speaking to Media, president of Assam University’s Research Scholars Forum, Milan Das, said, “Why was this issue not taken up, two-and-half-months back? This flummoxes us.”
“Now that the matter has come to light and an inquiry has been started by the ICC, we would monitor closely all development that takes place,” said Das.
Das said they want a final report latest by one week so that these two students can heave a sigh of relief.
“If delayed beyond that, we would start our agitation in a bigger way,” Das added.
Regarding the issue, the Registrar of Assam University, Dr Sanjiv Bhattacharjee, told, “Now the news is out and we have started our investigation.”
“If the teacher concerned is found guilty, severe action would be taken against him as per guidelines,” Bhattacharjee added.