Central University of Kerala suspends poetry teacher accused of sexually harassing, molesting PG students

Dr Efthikar Ahamed B. Photo: Facebook

Kasaragod: Central University of Kerala suspended Assistant Professor Efthikar Ahamed B from service on Tuesday, two weeks after first-semester PG students of the Department of English and Comparative Literature accused him of sexual harassment.

In the order, Vice Chancellor in-charge Prof Baiju K C said a disciplinary proceeding against Dr Efthikar Ahamed is being contemplated based on the allegations raised by the students. Therefore, he is placed under "suspension with immediate effect".

The students had accused their teacher of indulging "in major conversations about sex, sexual pleasure, and other forms of pleasure, under the garb of interpreting poetry and literature" since the beginning of their classes on September 7.

They said they approached the university's Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) after he "crossed all boundaries" and allegedly molested a student who fainted in class while writing an internal examination on November 13.

On November 14, the students submitted a seven-page complaint listing 31 alleged instances of inappropriate behaviour of Efthikar Ahamed to Prof Germina K A, presiding officer of the Internal Complaints Committee, and to Asha S, Head of the Department of English and Comparative Literature.

However, on November 16, Prof Baiju directed Efthikar Ahamed to stay away from students. In a note sent to him, Head of the Department Dr Asha wrote: "In the light of certain complaints received from some students, the Vice Chancellor has directed me to adopt necessary measures to ensure the safety of students. Thereupon, I am requesting you to kindly stay away from the responsibilities of teaching, evaluating, and mentoring until further notice."

Despite the note, Efthikar Ahamed hung around in the department and routinely posted messages in WhatsApp groups of courses he conducted, making students uncomfortable, they said.

All student organisations on the campus had called for his expulsion. One student organisation wanted the complaint to be forwarded to the police for a criminal investigation.

On November 25, Onmanorama carried out a detailed report on the complaint, testimonies of former students, and the medical officer who said she saw the teacher inappropriately touching the student in the health centre.

Vice Chancellor in-charge Prof Baiju told Onmanorama that Dr Efthikar Ahamed was suspended based on the interim report submitted by the Internal Complaints Committee. He refused to comment when asked whether the ICC's interim report found him prima facie guilty as charged.

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