Woman Prof held for ‘lur­ing’ stu­dents, TN Guv or­ders probe

The Free Press Journal - - NATION -

An as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of De­vanga Arts Col­lege, a pri­vate in­sti­tu­tion in Arup­pukot­tai, was on Mon­day ar­rested on charges of at­tempt­ing to traf­fic four of her girl stu­dents claim­ing that some high of­fi­cial of the Madu­rai Ka­ma­raj Univer­sity wanted their ser­vices.

With the CPI (M) State sec­re­tary K Balakr­ish­nan in­sin­u­at­ing that the Raj Bha­van could have a role in the in­ci­dent, Gover­nor Ban­war­i­lal Puro­hit quickly or­dered a probe headed by re­tired IAS of­fi­cer San­thanam into the en­tire episode (The Raj Bha­van press re­lease made no ref­er­ence to the party state­ment.) The CPI (M) leader in a state­ment made a ref­er­ence to a re­cent re­port al­leg­ing that the Home Min­istry was in­quir­ing into sex­ual ha­rass­ment com­plaints against a Gover­nor of a south In­dian State.

The en­tire con­tro­versy be­gan last month when Nir­mala Devi, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of Math­e­mat­ics of the col­lege had a 20-minute tele­phonic con­ver­sa­tion with four un­der­grad­u­ate girl stu­dents af­ter ask­ing one of the girls to switch on the phone’s speaker. Dur­ing the course of the con­ver­sa­tion she told the girls that an “ur­gent op­por­tu­nity” has come for do­ing cer­tain things “se­cretly” for a very se­nior of­fi­cial of the Madu­rai Ka­ma­raj Univer­sity to which the col­lege is af­fil­i­ated. While she did not men­tion what the girls were re­quired to do Nir­mala Devi said, “Be­ing col­lege girls you would have grasped what those ‘cer­tain things’ are.”

She promised the girls fi­nan­cial sup­port re­mit­ted into their bank ac­counts each month and aca­demic sup­port to pur­sue ed­u­ca­tion with­out has­sles up to PhD level.

She kept telling the re­luc­tant girls to think clearly and take an in­de­pen­dent de­ci­sion. When they were not game for it, she asked them not to re­veal about the con­ver­sa­tion to any­body.

On a com­plaint from the girls, the col­lege sus­pended Nir­mala Devi last month.

Mat­ters would have rested there but for a leak of the tele­phonic con­ver­sa­tion, which was recorded by the girls, on so­cial me­dia on Sun­day. The teacher claimed that she did not have any bad in­ten­tions.

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