HYDERABAD: A controversy involving the alleged sexual harassment of female students has surrounded the University of Sindh (SU), the second largest public sector higher education institution in the province.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court (SC) took notice of a complaint filed by anonymous female students, which presumably implicated some teachers of the Institute of English Language and Literature (IELL) and the bureau for students counseling and co-curricular activities for harassment.
The notice, issued by the human rights cell director of the apex court, has not specified names of the teachers who were accused of harassment. However, university sources, police and a letter circulating on social media suggest that some teachers of the IELL have been blamed for the offence. Nevertheless, the scope of the court’s notice appears broader as the varsity has been asked to submit a comprehensive report.
The SC notice has directed the SU registrar to submit the report by November 7.
The students who are believed to be behind the complaint could not be contacted for their version. In the unsigned letter shared on social media, the students have accused the teachers of making advances and blackmailing them.
One of the complainants claimed that no teacher is willing to become her guide for her masters’ research because she dared to file a complaint against a teacher.
ASP Suhai Aijaz, who has started an inquiry into the harassment complaints in the wake of the court’s notice, told The Express Tribune that three teachers are being investigated in the matter.
Two complainants were initially identified, ASP Aijaz said, adding that when she met one of them, she denied that she had written to the SC. “However, she did say that she complained against a teacher to the vice-chancellor few months ago,” ASP Aijaz said.
Another complainant, who is pursuing an MPhil degree at SU, had filed a report against a teacher at Jamshoro police station a few months ago. However, ASP Aijaz is still trying to locate her for her statement. “The complainant against the third teacher remains anonymous. We are still tracing her,” the officer said.
On Thursday, Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal also took notice of the issue and ordered Hyderabad DIG Javed Alam Odho to conduct an extensive investigation.