Threats in the name of investigation: Mahila Parishad
Bangladesh Mahila Parishad yesterday slammed the delay in releasing the probe body‘s report on the investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment against Saidur Rahman, chairperson of Bangla department of Dhaka Commerce College.
“The committee to prevent sexual harassment at the college, in the name of investigation, is threatening two of their female lecturers who submitted allegations against Saidur,” said the women’s rights organisation president Ayesha Khanam.
Speaking at a press conference at their auditorium in the capital, she demanded exemplary punishment of Saidur through a speedy trial.
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“The college authorities should not give any political or administrative shelter to an accused as news on his controversial activities have already been published in different newspapers and electronic media,” she said.
Ayesha said the probe body is yet to submit its report, though the allegations against Saidur were filed two months ago.
“We have also submitted a memorandum to the college authorities recently as two female lecturers made written complaints to us against him [Saidur],” she said.
She also presented a seven-point demand which includes formation of a committee to prevent sexual harassment at every educational institution as per High Court directive; taking necessary steps to ensure punishment of perpetrator; taking departmental action against Saidur; ensuring victims’ safety; holding awareness-raising programmes at educational institutions and workplaces, and elimination of gender discrimination.
Among others, the organisation’s General Secretary Maleka Banu, Joint General Secretary Rakhi Das Purkayastha and International Affairs Secretary Rekha Saha were present at the press conference.
According to the allegations submitted in June and July this year, Saidur used to call the complainants and make sexual advances. He was also accused of sexually assaulting a lecturer inside his room at the college.
After that, both female teachers told journalists that Saidur has been influencing the college authorities to mislead the probe body.
They also alleged that instead of investigating complaints against Saidur, the college authorities have formed a separate three-member probe body to investigate them [complainants], bringing allegations of “controversial activities.”
However, Prof Saidur recently put up a status on Facebook claiming that he is “innocent”. He claimed that the allegations are “conspiracies” against him.