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Nalanda University’s vice-chancellor quits over sexual assault by students

Rajgir: Pankaj Mohan, the interim vice-chancellor of Nalanda International University, on Wednesday tendered his resignation following alleged incidents of sexual assault by two students, one of whom was suspended.

As per the university’s media in-charge Smita Polite, while one student was suspended on the charge of sexually harassing fellow students, another was shifted to a different hostel.

She added that the authorities had received a complaint against the two a month back and an action was taken against them following the set procedure.

An Internal Complaint Committee investigated the matter and submitted its report on March 20.

After following the norms and approval of the Chancellor, one student was suspended on Wednesday and another shifted out of his hostel on Tuesday, she said.

Earlier, a group of students of the university staged a protest in front of Vice-Chancellor’s office, alleging that the authorities were not taking action against the two accused students though the complaint was lodged a month back.

Superintendent of Police of Nalanda Kumar Ashish said he intervened and took a delegation for talks with the VC after which the stir was called off.

After going through the details of the complaints, he asked the university authorities to register a FIR against the student, who has been suspended. He was also accused of sending threat mails to classmates.

Meanwhile, late last evening, the interim vice-chancellor resigned owning “moral responsibility”.

In a letter to Chancellor Vijay Bhatkar, Mohan wrote, “Dear members of Nalanda University Community, I express my sincere apology to the members of Nalanda University Community for my inability to uphold their trust. I take moral responsibility for the problems that the University experienced in the last three days”.

“I have relinquished all the administrative positions and I have also advised the Chancellor to institute an inquiry into the period of my term as Interim Vice Chancellor. If I am found guilty of any willful error I will quit the university,” he wrote.

Bhatkar, the man behind India`s first supercomputer– the Param series– was appointed as the chancellor of Nalanda International University last month.

Based on the vision of former president APJ Abdul Kalam, the Nalanda International University came into existence on 25 November 2010 in Bihar’s Nalanda district. The first academic session of the university started on September 01, 2014.

—-PTI