Protests Rock SKUAST Campus Over ‘Molestation’

Police Files Case, Accused Prof Suspended Pending Inquiry

Srinagar- Massive protests broke out at the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST), Wadura campus in North Kashmir’s Sopore on Friday evening after a student charged her professor of sexual harassment.

A large group of students held a strong demonstration against the alleged harassment of a fellow student, raised slogans against the varsity administration and demanded justice. The situation became so tense that the District Commissioner Baramulla, Dr Sehrish Asgar had to personally intervene in the matter.

Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Dr Sehrish Asgar confirmed that police have registered an FIR in the matter and the accused professor has been suspended pending inquiry.

As per an official from SKUAST, the girl student (name withheld) had filed a complaint on Thursday against a professor, Mushtaq Ahmed Dar, of molesting her. “An FIR in the matter has also been lodged in Police Station Bomai,” the official said.

Meanwhile, as per an order issued by Registrar SKUAST, T.H.Masoodi, the professor has been suspended. “Pending enquiry into the matter of alleged misconduct, Dr. Mushtaq Ahmad Dar, Prof. Et Head, Division of Agri. Extension and Communication, Faculty of Agriculture, Wadura is hereby placed under suspension with immediate effect. He shall remain attached with KVK, Pombai, Kulgam,” reads the order, a copy of which lies with Kashmir Observer.

Pertinent to mention here that barely a week ago, a female student of Government Degree College (GDC) Sopore had made a similar allegation against a professor in which the college authorities submitted a report to the government after inquiring into the matter.

Speaking to Kashmir Observer, Dean SKUAST (Wadura) Dr. Raihana Habib Kanth said that the varsity administration has already suspended the professor and his salary has also been withheld.

Several students have also alleged that the accused professor Mushtaq Ahmed Dar is a habitual offender who has demanded sexual favours from girl students in the past and the varsity administration has been saving him despite knowing about his reality.

However, Dr. Raihana Habib refuted such allegations and said that nothing like this has ever come under the notice of varsity in the past.

“This is an absolute lie. Most of these protesting students are from 1st and 2nd year….so how can they be so sure about what has happened in the past,” Dr. Raihana said.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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