Central University initiates action against doctor who saw teacher allegedly molesting student

Assistant Prof Efthikar Ahamed B (left) and Central University of Kerala (right). Photo: Facebook and File Image

Kasaragod: The Central University of Kerala has initiated disciplinary action against a female medical officer who said she saw assistant professor Efthikar Ahamed B allegedly inappropriately touching a semi-conscious female student in the campus health centre.

The university invoked a gag order approved by the former Vice Chancellor Prof G Gopakumar in January 2020 to send the doctor a show-cause notice for "tarnishing the image" of the accused faculty member by allegedly speaking to the media. 

The show-cause notice was sent to her on November 30 on a complaint filed by Efthikar Ahamed on November 28, a day after Vice Chancellor in-charge Prof K C Baiju suspended him from service based on the interim report of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). 

The female medical officer, who is in charge of the university's health centre, is the prime witness in the sexual harassment case against Efthikar Ahamed. In her statement recorded by the ICC, she said she saw him inappropriately touching the female student who was brought to the health centre in a semi-conscious state on November 13. 

On November 14, around 33 first-semester MA English students filed a detailed seven-page 31-point complaint against Efthikar Ahamed accusing him of sexual harassment by turning his poetry classes into lewd sessions and molesting the student. They said they decided to file the complaint when the teacher "crossed all boundaries" on November 13.   

However, the university has decided to go after the prime eyewitness in the case. "The issue of this show-cause notice is in strict reference to the matter allegedly reported by you to the media directly without prior permission from the Competent Authority in connection with the allegations raised against Dr Efthikar Ahamed B, Assistant Professor, Department of English & Comparative Literature," the notice to the doctor read.

The notice said her alleged act was "unbecoming on the part of a responsible government servant" and violated Rule 11 of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964. The rule says: "government servant may not communicate directly to other government servant or non-official persons or to press any documents or information which may have come into his possession in the course of his public duties".

The notice said her alleged act was also "contravening of the university circular issued on January 30, 2020. It stipulates that stringent action will be taken against those creating and spreading defamatory messages against its staff/ university through media".

"In view of the above, you are directed to submit your explanation to the undersigned within seven days of the receipt of this communication, so that disciplinary action as deemed fit should not be initiated against you," said the notice issued by the Registrar.

On November 30, the day when the show-cause notice was issued, parents of four students approached Kasaragod Collector Inbasekar Kalimuthu seeking action against the assistant professor. The collector forwarded the parents' petition to the university Registrar and sought a report.

Eighteen days after the students filed the complaint, the university has not yet decided whether the accused teacher committed a criminal offence on November 13.

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