Lecturer’s suicide over sexual harassment allegations: HED probe finds college principal negligent

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LAHORE: A four-member committee constituted to probe into the suicide matter of an MAO College lecturer and sexual harassment allegations against the deceased, found the principal guilty of showing negligence in handling the issue, recommending his removal from the post.

 

Muhammad Afzal, a lecturer in English at the MAO College, had committed suicide by consuming poisonous pills after the college administration denied him a clearance certificate following an inquiry declared him innocent and the sexual harassment allegations leveled against him by a girl student proved wrong on July 8, 2019.

The inquiry into the incident was led by a Sciences Dean Dr Aaliya Rehman Khan, which had concluded that Afzal had not harassed anyone. The lecturer kept demanding a ‘clearance certificate’ reportedly from the college principal and the chairman of the anti-harassment committee, but to no avail. He was informed that the report had been submitted to the principal’s office on July 13, 2019.

The lecturer tried to get a copy of the report and the clearance certificate for more than three months, but in vain.

Finally, Afzal’s wife left him on Oct 8 over the issue and he committed suicide on Oct 9, 2019 after writing a note for Dr Aaliya that said he was “leaving the matter to God”.

His death raised several questions on such false allegations and the plight of the accused in such cases on the social media.

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Later, in a media report Dr Aaliya argued it was not her responsibility to issue a ‘clearance certificate’ to the lecturer, holding the Principal Dr Farhan Ibadat Yar responsible for it.

HED initiated a probe into the lecturer’s suicide and constituted a committee for the purpose.

HED Secretary Sajid Zafar Dall appointed University of Okara Vice Chancellor Prof Zakria Zakar as convener of the committee with Lahore College for Women University registrar, the Govt PG College Township principal and deputy secretary (Establishment Male) of the HED as its members.

The committee had heard the family of the deceased lecturer, the complainant and confiscated the record of the inquiry and had submitted a report to the HED secretary two days ago.

An HED source said the secretary had held a meeting with the principal and conveyed him the recommendations of the committee.

He said the department might remove the principal from the post.

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