After survivor student meets Smriti Irani, CUK transfers Efthikar Ahamed to another department

Dr Efthikar Ahamed B. Photo: Facebook

Kasaragod: In a rare move, Central University of Kerala Vice Chancellor in charge Prof Baiju K C has transferred Efthikar Ahamed B, an assistant professor facing charges of sexual harassment from students, to the Department of Education from the Department of English and Comparative Literature.

The order dated May 3 said Dr Ahamed has been transferred following a letter from the National Commission for Women, New Delhi.

He would teach English in the integrated teacher education programme (ITEP) of the Department of Education "as an alternative arrangement in the interest of a fair and unbiased ongoing departmental inquiry" against him, said the order.

According to ABVP members in the university, the transfer order was issued after the survivor student met Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani on April 4, when she came to Kanhangad for electioneering.

The survivor, accompanied by ABVP students, met the minister and apprised her of the complaint and the university's decision to reinstate the accused assistant professor in the Department of English after a brief suspension. "As the model code of conduct was in place, the minister could not intervene then. But she did what had to be done," said a student leader.

Dr Efhikar Ahamed was accused by a first-year MA English student of inappropriately touching her when she fainted in the classroom on November 13, 2023. After the alleged incident, other students of the class also accused the teacher of giving lewd lectures under the garb of poetry classes. The university suspended him on November 28, 2023.

During the hearing of the university's Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), two more students accused the teacher of inappropriately touching them. However, the ICC recommended that he be reinstated with conditions.

On February 23, after nearly three months of suspension, Vice-Chancellor in charge Prof Baiju allowed him to resume academic activities in the Department of English.

But on February 29, the Vice-Chancellor suspended him again against the backdrop of vehement student protests, saying a criminal investigation is pending against Dr Ahamed.

In March, Bekal Police submitted the charge sheet to the court indicting him under section 354 of IPC (outraging the modesty of a female student).

Following this, the university revoked his suspension again but with the condition that he would not teach first-year PG students of the Department of English.

On April 25, 20 days after the survivor student met Irani, the National Commission for Women wrote to the university to keep Dr Ahamed away from the affected students.

Faculty members said an inter-department transfer was unprecedented in the university, and borders on illegality. He is appointed in the Department of English, and without the Ministry of Education's consent cannot be transferred to another department, they said. Some teachers said the transfer was a superficial measure to comply with the recommendation of the National Women's Commission.

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