Bengal women panel protests Padma award to ‘tainted’ scientist

Kolkata, Jan 28: The West Bengal Commission for Women Tuesday said it will write to the president and the prime minister requesting for revocation of Padma Shri to Visva Bharati University vice chancellor Sushanta Dattagupta, who was accused of sexual harassment.

“It is highly unfortunate that one of the highest civilian awards has been dishonoured by giving it to a person who has been accused of sexual harassment and was even removed as the director of the institute,” said commission chairperson Sunanda Mukherjee.

As the then director of Satyendra Nath Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Dattagupta in 2005 was accused of sexually harassing a female scientist.

“I will today (Tuesday) write to the president and the prime minister, urging that the ward be revoked,” said Mukherjee. She added she will also write to West Bengal chief minister and the National Commission for Women.

Despite repeated attempts, Dattagupta did not reply to SMSes or take phone calls from IANS.

Dattagupta, who was Sunday named for the Padma Shri award in the field of science and engineering, earlier denied all the allegations and contended that he was not removed as the institute’s director but his term had come to an end.

IANS