Kottayam: A research scholar at the Mahatma Gandhi University here, who had been protesting against a casteist attack, has come up with a sexual assault charge against a former colleague prompting a response from the vice-chancellor, Dr. Sabu Thomas on Wednesday.
The woman, who had been staging a hunger strike before the campus demanding the expulsion of Dr Nandakumar Kalarikkal, director-in-charge of School of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology for making casteist attack, raised a fresh allegation aimed at a person called Sreenivasa Rao.
According to the woman, the incident dates back to 2014 when she was doing her Ph.D. at the university.
"At that time, there was a research scholar by the name Sreenivasa Rao," she told media persons here.
"When I was preparing the work report in the Physics Department on the second floor, he was sitting there. I was working on my laptop. I knew him since my MPhil days, so when I was leaving I told him and was about to switch off the lights when he grabbed my hand. I ran and fell down. He chased me, but I escaped," said the woman, claiming that another woman, from Tamil Nadu, had also complained against the person. "But no action was taken," she added.
The woman has alleged that the current VC, Sabu Thomas, who was the head of the Nanotechnology department back then, was told about the incident, but he refused to take action.
Thomas has refuted the accusations claiming, "the allegations are completely false". He said that the woman never lodged a complaint "not even verbally".
According to Thomas, the accused is "a brilliant boy from Andhra. He is from a poor family, worked hard, went to Italy and is doing extremely good work there". He has also claimed that the High Court of Kerala had examined the allegations and "quashed everything".
On her accusations againgst Dr Nandakumar, the VC said: "When she joined for PhD, she presented an MPhil data. Nandakumar said it was plagiarism. It was the starting point."
Meanwhile, Sabu Thomas said that he was ready to support that woman and has asked her to return to the campus. “We will give her enough facilities, scholarship, accommodation, and chemicals and we will see to it that she completes here PhD on time. I'm ready to supervise,” he said.