The Kanpur police have booked four professors of the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K) for allegedly harassing a Dalit faculty member. The accused persons have been charged for ‘caste-based harassment’ under IPC section 500 (defamation), the IT Act as well as the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The accused professors are Sanjay Mittal, Chandra Shekhar Upadhyay (aerospace department), Ishan Sharma (mechanical department) and Dr Rajiv Shekhar (now IIT-Dhanbad director).
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According to the Indian Express, the complainant Subrahmanyam Sadrela said that some senior faculty members had started spreading misinformation that he was mentally unfit with bad credentials and was unsuitable for the job. He had joined IIT-K’s aerospace engineering department on January 1, this year.
Besides caste-based discrimination, Sadrela said “they have now started making random allegations on my research work. They started digging up things against my wife. I am continuously being harassed and anonymous emails against me are doing rounds in the institute.”
The institute’s Deputy Director Maninder Agarwal had earlier told Indian Express that accused professors had circulated emails against Sadrela. “After a lot of mental harassment, Sadrela complained to me and on January 12, a fact-finding committee was formed”, said Mr. Agarwal.
Sadrela’s allegations of harassment were found to be true. Following this, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) asked the institute’s administration to lodge a complaint against the professors under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
On October 17, the university board took action against Mittal, Upadhyay and Shekhar being demoted while Sharma was let off with a warning.