JORHAT, March 3: The Assam Agricultural University (AAU) has suspended a professor (also a principal scientist) on charges of misconduct that tantamounts to sexual harassment after a complaint in this regard was lodged by a PhD student of the varsity.
A top AAU official, who did wanted to be named, confirmed to The Assam Tribune on Wednesday that Dr Bijit Kumar Saud, a professor (also Principal Scientist) of the Horticulture department of the university, has been suspended from service with immediate effect by the authorities after approval of the Vice-Chancellor Dr Bidyut Chandan Deka following filing of a complaint against Saud by a female PhD student on Tuesday alleging impropriety committed by Saud which tantamounts to sexual harassment.
The official stated that considering the grave nature of charges of misconduct brought against the professor, the authorities has immediately removed (suspended) Saud from his post and has referred the matter to the Internal Complaints Committee of the university for a fair probe into the alleged incident.
The official said that the ICC, headed by a Professor S Kaur, a former Dean of Community Science College under the AAU, will inquire into the charges of harassment levelled by the student and submit its report to the authorities within one month.
According to a reliable source in the university, the student belonging to a neighbouring State, has alleged in her complaint that on Sunday while she was on a field trip to Rangajan, Titabar in Jorhat district, Saud who was her research guide asked certain improper questions like whether she consumed alcohol and whether she had told her friends about the trip, suggested her to get married to a local resident and do a job in Assam, and later physically touched her body in an improper manner several times.
She also alleged that Dr Saud delayed the trip from morning to afternoon and also took her to an unknown spot which she came to know was a eco-tourism site and entered a resort to have food.
It may be mentioned here that on September, 2019 an AAU professor was suspended following a candidate seeking admission to a post-graduate course levelled charges of sexual harassment against the professor.
Attempt to contact the AAU Vice-Chancellor telephonically failed as there was no response from him.