East Godavari: Rajahmundry-based Adikavi Nannaya University (AKNU) on Monday suspended Assistant Professor of Department of English, N Surya Raghavendra after he allegedly sexually harassed PG girl students of the department. On Monday, the students lodged a complaint against the professor citing that he sexually harassed them and that he needs to be punished.

Though the inquiry into the matter is still pending, Women’s Cell (Sexual Harassment Committee) and AP State Council of Higher Education has recommended the Registrar to suspend the professor for a fair inquiry.

Registrar of the University S Teki issued the suspension orders and mentioned that Raghavendra should appear before an enquiry committee as and when required. The alleged harasser should not leave Rajahmundry without the permission of a competent authority, the Registrar added.

Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had ordered an inquiry into the issue after the allegations emerged. The students wrote to the Chief Minister, complaining that assistant professor Raghavendra had sexually harassed them. In their complaint, they mentioned that Raghavendra had collected their mobile numbers and talked to them using indecent language. The Chief Minister directed the officials of the Higher Education Department to look into the allegations against the professor.

However, Vice-Chancellor of the university, P Suresh Varma, claimed that the allegations against Raghavendra were baseless and the complaint was a ploy to bring dishonour to the university. Varma also said that the Women’s Cell, which probed the claim, found that there were missing links in the allegations against the assistant professor. He noted that the preliminary inquiry proved that the allegations were baseless.

The university has formed a five-member committee to probe the allegation, and a full report of the incident will be submitted to the government. However, sources said that some political leaders have been playing foul to tarnish the image of the Vice-Chancellor and a few others.

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