A group of people from the alumni network of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) University has released a strongly-worded statement condemning the promotion of RK Pachauri, an accused in a sexual harassment case, to the position of Executive Vice-Chairman of the green body.
In February last year, a junior colleague had accused him of sexual harassment, following which he went on leave but joined work in July with a court quashing the internal committee report that found him guilty of misconduct. He was removed as chairman of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, an international body of scientists that makes periodic assessment of climate change science.
An FIR was registered against Pachauri on charges of sexual harassment under IPC sections 354, 354(a), 354(d) (molestation) and 506 (criminal intimidation). The complainant called the promotion "shameless" in an open letter yesterday. The post of Executive Vice Chairman was recently created and Pachauri will be the first to hold the position.
Here's the full statement:
This statement is with reference to the recent appointment of Dr. R.K. Pachauri as the Executive Vice-Chairman of TERI on Monday. A group of TERI University Alumni would like to strongly condemn this move.
This news comes after a spate of recent happenings that started in mid-Feb 2015 with a young woman lodging an FIR against Dr. R. K. Pachauri in mid-Feb 2015 on charges of sexual harassment under IPC sections 354, 354(a), 354(d) (molestation) and 506 (criminal intimidation). Despite this he continued to be the Director General of TERI for a certain period of time, exercising influence on TERI officials to settle the matter out of court and finally the woman was forced to quit TERI. The case is currently under judicial consideration.
The intent of this statement is not to term any person involved as “accused” or “ victim” and going beyond the powers of the Court. However, appointment of any person to one of the senior most positions of the same organization where the alleged crime occurs is out rightly unfortunate. Therefore, any appointment (actually a promotion) of Dr. R. K. Pachauri in TERI should be deferred till the case has been closed by the court.
This latest appointment of Dr. Pachauri as the “superboss” of TERI, as reported by the media, comes across as a slap on the faces of all those women (and men) who have ever tried to stand up against gender discrimination or sexual harassment at workplace. This also sends out an extremely wrong message to all TERI employees and TERI university students, through indirect intimidation and by essentially suppressing their voices forever. As a Vice Chairman with Executive powers, Dr. Pachauri could potentially have all powers as well as access to continue to intimidate witnesses of the case.
We are a group of TERI University alumni who have always felt proud at having been associated with an institution that claims to provide an environment encouraging both personal and intellectual growth. Unfortunately, this extremely insensitive and discriminatory move has made us question the integrity and reliability of TERI as an institution as well as the morality of all those members in the governing council.
TERI is an internationally renowned organization which works towards making this world a better place to live for all of us. This step by the TERI Governing Council has pushed back TERI’s contribution to this world by at least 10 years. This blatant display of power politics makes us feel ashamed to refer to the institution as our alma mater. Any act that jeopardizes the voice of youth against wrongdoings and injustice for the sake of power is highly condemnable and unacceptable in today’s time.
We take this opportunity to condemn this act of TERI Governing Council in all our capacity and we believe that the media and public will raise their voice against such injustice and institutional dogmatism. Simultaneously, we would like to appeal to the TERI Governing Council to reconsider their decision immediately and reinstate the trust of all its employees, student and alumni in the institution once again.
A few concerned ex-TERI employees and members of TERI University Alumni network
Here are the names of the alumni members who released the joint statement.
1. Sumedha Basu (TERI University batch 2007)
2. Nitasha Sharma (TERI University batch 2008)
3. Smita Rakesh (TERI University batch 2008)
4. Priya Tripathi (TERI University batch 2009)
5. Prashant Varanasi (TERI University batch 2011)
6. Ishani P (TERI University batch 2008)
7. Saksham Nijhawan (TERI University batch 2014)
8. Madhushree Bn (TERI University batch 2012)
9. Anjana Varghese (TERI University batch 2008)
10. Chandni Singh (TERI University batch 2008)
11. Sarika Saxena (TERI University batch 2008)
12. Jarnail Singh (TERI University batch 2008)
Also Read: The Men And Women Who Promoted Pachauri
Also Read: Incoming DG Is Apprehensive
Also Read: Complainant Quits TERI, Alleges Mistreatment
Also Read: Complainant Files Writ Petition Against TERI
Also Read: Woman Says She's Still 'Further Victimised'
Meanwhile, a petition to TERI Governing Council has been filed on Change.org to reverse Pachauri's appointment.
Contact HuffPost India
Also on HuffPost: