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Sexual harassment case: Ex-lab assistant succumbs to injuries

October 07, 2013 15:19 IST

A former laboratory assistant of a Delhi University college, who had set herself on fire seven days ago after alleging sexual harassment by a college principal, succumbed to her injuries on Monday.

Pavitra Bhardwaj, 35, had doused herself with kerosene and set herself on fire at gate number 6 of the Delhi secretariat. She sustained 90 per cent burns and was taken to the LNJPHospital where she died Monday morning.

Police had recovered a suicide note from the spot in which she had said that she was taking the extreme step to protest alleged physical and mental harassment by principal GK Arora and another staff of BhimRao Ambedkar College, Yamuna Vihar.

Her death prompted protests by teachers and students of the college who demanded that the college principal should step down until a probe is on in this case.

The demonstrators also accused Delhi Police of shoddy investigation in the case, claiming that no action has been taken against the principal and another employee of the college whom she had named in her suicide note.

The woman was sacked from the college two years ago.

Police had filed a case of suicide in this case.

"We are waiting the postmortem report in the case. Meanwhile, we are questioning the principal and other people in the case," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Alok Kumar.

The relatives of the woman said that Bhardwaj had filed complaints against the college principal first with an anti-sexual harassment committee and then with the apex committee of the university, both of which had given clean chit to Arora. They demanded immediate arrest of the principal.

"Nobody from the government or the education department visited her. The principal is being shielded. He should be arrested and only then a fair inquiry is possible in the case," alleged Bhardwaj's brother Sanjeev.

BJP leader Vijay Jolly and former Delhi Mayor Arti Mehra, who had met the victim on Sunday, had also questioned why the Delhi chief minister and the education minister had not cared to visit the victim.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of National Commission for Woman Mamta Sharma said if sexual harassment is taking place in schools and colleges, then it is very unfortunate.

"The case has not yet been reported to us. I will get it probed once it comes to us," she said. 

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