Kathmandu, July 8
Tribhuvan University has, for the first time, filed a police complaint accusing one of its teachers of sexually harassing a female student pursuing master’s degree.
Jagadish Murti Koirala, who teaches economics, was found repeatedly calling a female student at the Department of Education, sending her lewd text messages and asking her to meet him despite several warnings to stop doing so.
She reached out to the university administration after the teacher gave her failing grades in internal examination. “The teacher had warned he would fail me in his subject if I did not come to see him before the exams. And he did just that as I had turned down his request,” said the 27-year-old, who is married. The screenshot of the message seen by THT reads: “No one will be benefitted [sic] if s/he does wrong with me [sic].”
Forty-something Koirala is married and has an adult son. THT called and texted Koirala multiple times to get his comments. But he did not respond.
“We called Koirala multiple times after the incident came to light. But he did not respond,” said Deep Bahadur Adhikari, head of the Central Department of Education at Tribhuvan University.
Koirala first started sexually harassing this student a year ago. “He used to send lewd text messages saying he loves me,” the student said. “He also used to call me and ask me to see him. But I never obliged.”
In one of the recorded phone conversations heard by THT, Koirala asks the student to meet him at 7:30am at Khasibazaar, Kalanki. When the student rejects his request, he gets frustrated and tells her to “stay at home” in an angry tone. One of the text messages sent by Koirala and seen by THT says, “I have taken care of you when I am teaching [sic]. I love you Kali.”
Tired of this harassment, she even changed her mobile phone number. “But he somehow got hold of my new number, and the harassment continued with requests to meet him at his office and areas near Khasibazaar in Kalanki,” she said. “At one point I got so frustrated, I thought of dropping the semester.”
On June 17, the student finally mustered some courage and reached out to the Department of Education of the university and lodged a harassment complaint against Koirala. The department forwarded the complaint to the Principal’s Office.
The principal’s office then lodged a complaint at Metropolitan Police Circle, Kirtipur, on Friday, accusing Koirala of sexually harassing his student. This is the first time the university has filed a sexual harassment case against its teacher, according to Sudha Tripathi, registrar at the university.
“We have received a complaint from the university accusing Koirala of sexual harassment. Though the nature of harassment has not been explained in detail in the complaint, we have asked the student to explain everything to us,” said Chhedi Lal Kamati, deputy superintendent of police at Metropolitan Police Circle, Kirtipur.
Police have yet to round up Koirala. “We are coordinating with the university to trace his whereabouts,” said Kamati.
A version of this article appears in print on July 09, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.