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Mata Vaishno Devi University or university of “sexual” harassment
Time for Governor To Intervene
5/16/2011 11:22:13 AM

JAMMU, May 15: The people of Jammu province struggled for more than two months in 1998 and got Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University. The people of Jammu province in general and the student community, the community of traders and industrialists and the community of lawyers in particular, had to put in all in order to force the then government to establish Mata Vaishno Devi University. So much that they had to observe a 17-day-long continues bandh to achieve their objective. Not only this, all the educational institutions in Jammu, including the colleges and the University of Jammu, remained dysfunctional for at least two months and hundreds and hundreds of people, including students, courted arrest and faced lathi blows. The government and the
vested interests tried their level best to break unity and derail the movement, but miserably failed. Such was the nature of the movement.Had the state government not conceded the demand of the people, it would have surely collapsed.
It is important to note that Mata Vaishnmo Devi University is not an ordinary university; it is neither funded by the state government nor by the University Grants Commission; it is being run by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine board and it is the devotees’ offerings which are used for the development of this university. Hence, it is a noble institution. Anyway, it was under this situation that Mata Vaishno Devi University came into being. It was then hoped that this university would cater to the additional educational needs of the Jammu youth and that it would also create new employment opportunities for the Jammu-based academicians, notwithstanding their belief that the jurisdiction of the university should not be confined to Jammu province only and that
there should be a mixed faculty – faculty drawn from different parts of the country. Indeed, a very right approach. University is not a school. University is a university and it becomes university in the real sense of the term when there is a mixed faculty, when there are students from different parts of the country and when the courses prescribed are modern and competitive.
However, the situation as it exists today at the campus is not only disturbing but also extremely frightening. The situation has now climaxed to the point that certain girl students are thinking in terms of committing suicide or giving up studies and going back to their respective places. Reports emanating from the campus are so serious that only a definite action against those who have been polluting the campus alone could restore the students’ confidence in those at the
helm of affairs as well as a section of questionable faculty.
It would be appropriate to describe the situation as it prevails on the campus in the words of the aggrieved students themselves but without naming them. Disclosing their names woul d be to endanger their career. The Early Times has accessed a copy of the complaint against the faculty. According to some students, including girl students, “the students of (a particular department) have been experiencing physical and mental harassment, which, in turn, is affecting our academics; our skills and abilities because of the return (of a particular teacher) Vikas Bhola.” Their complain is that (and they have been making such complaints for quite sometime now) he “pats on the back and sometimes even on cheeks, which makes most of the girls feel uneasy; sometimes during the discussion he makes remarks like apne yeh dress pehna hai…kya mujhese puchke pehna hai…agar is ka gala aur deep hota…cut sleeves hota…etc.” According to the same mentally tortured and physically harassed students, “last semester, we had a ‘Resort’ as the Design project and many a time he (Vikas Bhola) had uttered sentences like ‘aap aur mai is resort mein jaenge room mein akele rahenge etc.”
Sources on the campus reveal that State Governor N N Vohra is fully aware of the situation and that he has asked the university authorities to look into the complaints of the aggrieved and
physically and sexually harassed students, particularly the girl students, but the university authorities have failed to take any action in the matter. Rather there are reports that the “authorities are shielding the likes of Bhola and further harassing the aggrieved students.” If what these sources reveal is correct, then it can be said that the situation has assumed alarming proportions. Governor Vohra is the Chancellor of the University and it is his fundamental
duty to punish the guilty and restore the students’ confidence in the university which is, according to the same sources, is being run by the Vice-Chancellor and his coterie. Any failure on his part to
intervene here and now would be only to promote the guilty and force the aggrieved to either commit suicide or give up studies. If anything goes wrong or if the harassed students take any extreme step, and there are reports that they can, then he would be blamed. For, it is now well known that he is fully aware of what has been going on in the university for quite sometime now.
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