Published: 19th January 2023
MANIT Bhopal scholar resorts to hunger strike; claims complaint against professor went unaddressed
Tanmay Shukla and fellow scholar Mirza Jawad Baig have alleged that their supervisor Dr Kalla has shown unprofessional behaviour
"It has been 13 days since I submitted a complaint on the issue, yet I have received no help," says Tanmay Shukla, a PhD scholar from Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (MANIT), Bhopal. The scholar has alleged harassment at the hands of his supervisor Dr Ujjwal Kalla. On top of getting no aid from the institute administration, Shukla claims to be receiving threats to drop the matter.
"A few days ago, when I went out of the campus, I was followed by some unknown people, who threatened me of dire consequences if I didn't take back my complaint," the scholar said. His admission at the institute has also been cancelled amidst the controversy.
Tanmay Shukla and fellow scholar Mirza Jawad Baig have alleged that their supervisor Dr Kalla has shown unprofessional behaviour, asking them to perform errands for him. This aside, the scholars also allege that the professor has tried to take credit for their research papers.
Frustrated, and with no alternatives in sight, Shukla had started a hunger strike from January 18, yesterday. Afraid to be alone after the threat, he has been sitting in protest along with a few other scholars who are protesting against PhD fee regulation issues at MANIT.
"But the administration is not paying much heed to my problem," Tanmay said. He added that after he submitted his complaint against Dr Kalla, the institute constituted a committee to look into the matter. "I submitted all the proof I had, but no action was taken against my supervisor. Moreover, Dean of Academics, Dr Arvind Mittal asked me to go through medical counselling sessions," he said.
Tanmay claims that he was asked to go through seven counselling sessions. He attended one session and the psychologist concluded that he was mentally disturbed and nothing more was done to address his concerns. "The issue needs urgent attention and such harassment of scholars needs to stop," said Dr Lal Chandra Vishwakarma, President of All India Research Scholars' Association (AIRSA).
The legal route?
Asked if he wanted to take a legal route in the matter, Tanmay said, "I have considered it, but my PhD degree is at stake. The legal procedure will take very long and I will have to start my work over, which isn't suitable and won't be of any help. All I want is an open conversation with the administration and an amicable settlement of the matter," he added.
On the other hand, in an earlier conversation with EdexLive, Dr Kalla denied Shukla's claims and cited personal vendetta. "I have guided more than 50 students in the last 10 years. How come no one accused me of such behaviour before?" he questioned.