The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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US student in molest cry
- Visva-Bharati girl complains against doctor, demands damages

Santiniketan, Aug. 23: An American student at Visva-Bharati has complained to the police here that a doctor attached to the Pearson Memorial Hospital had attempted to molest her last month and has demanded a compensation of Rs 10,000.

Vice-chancellor Sujit Kumar Basu has formed a seven-member inquiry committee to probe the allegation and asked it to submit a report to him by Tuesday. “We have taken the matter very seriously. Proper steps will be taken on the basis of the report,” Basu said.

Police sources said Amber Field, a student of Sangeet Bhavan, yesterday alleged that the doctor at the hospital had attempted to molest her on July 4, when she went for the medical check-up mandatory for all students. Field said she had nothing against the university, but demanded that the doctor be sacked.

The episode has raised eyebrows in the campus as the allegations come more than a month after the incident allegedly took place.

Several teachers suggested that there could be “some other motive” behind the charges and added that the matter should be handled carefully.

“I was not aware of the procedures of lodging the complaint and that is why it took me so long to do so,” said the student.

She said she had informed the US embassy in Delhi on August 4 and the mission’s officials had advised her to inform the university authorities.

University sources said the matter had been communicated to the ministry of human resources development in Delhi. “We informed the ministry as not only the goodwill of the university but also the relationship between the two countries is at stake,” said an official of the university.

The official added that the US embassy had not contacted the university.

“I have been mentally demoralised from this unexpected sexual harassment and I have appealed to the university to sack the doctor immediately,” iterated the student.

Basu said an inquiry committee was formed as a student had raised a serious allegation and, according to the university’s rules, it had to be probed. The team is headed by Visva-Bharati proctor Manoranjan Pradhan.

Bolpur sub-divisional police officer Rabindranath Sarkar refused to comment as the case was a “sensitive one”.

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