Author: Pradip R Sagar
Published Date: Mar 8, 2015 6:00 AM
Last Updated: Mar 8, 2015 5:10 AM
A 25 years old Junior Research Fellow has filed a complaint against D Majumdar, additional director of DIPAS, of making sexual advances.
NEW DELHI: After well known environmental scientist Dr R K Pachauri faces allegations of sexual harassment by his junior woman colleague, a senior scientist of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO),the country’s premier defence research body, too is facing similar charges by a junior researcher.
A 25 year old Junior Research Fellow has accused 59 year old Dr D Majumdar, the additional director of the DRDO’s Delhi based Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), of sexually harassing her. Taking cognizance of the woman’s complaint, Majumdar has been shunted out in ‘public interest’ following the recommendations of a high level committee, which was set up by the DRDO, to look into the allegations
According to official sources, the woman, who joined DIPAS in December last year, filed a complaint with the head of the organisation in February. In her complaint to Dr Shashi Bala Singh, Director, DIPAS, the woman accused Majumdar of making sexual advances towards her and she also sought her transfer from the particular group of Ergonomics. The woman alleged that Majumdar used to sexually harass her on his office premises. Over 40 other fellow researchers also came in support of the woman complainant and gave their representation against Majumdar. Subsequently her complaint was forwarded to the DRDO headquarters and a five member committee headed by Hina Gokhale, Director HRD of the DRDO, was formed to look into the allegations, as per the Vishakha Guidelines formulated by the Supreme Court.
Majumdar, who is retiring by the end of 2015, has been transferred to a Gwalior based laboratory where he has been directed to report by March 16. When contacted, Majumdar defended himself and said that the allegation was a conspiracy. “I completely denied such allegations and it is a conspiracy to defame me. Surprisingly, hours after appearing before the committee on March 3, I received my transfer orders from the headquarters,” said Majumdar, Scientist G of the DRDO, which is equivalent to a Joint Secretary rank officer. While deposing before the committee, he reportedly handed over six testimonials from junior scientists in his favour.
However, the complainant didn’t comment. When contacted, Dr. Shashi Bala Singh said, “I will not be able to make any comment on it. Please contact my headquarters.”
But DRDO Spokesperson Ravi Gupta said, “We (DRDO) follows strict regulations, whenever such allegations come out in the department. Since in this matter, a committee is already constituted and looking into the matter, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on its proceedings.”
Experiment with Controversies DIPAS was recently in the news for carrying out a study for faster deployment of troops for high altitude operations in case of war like situation, which was rubbished by the Indian Army. In fact, army severely criticised the methods adopted by the DIPAS scientists to collect data sample for its study. DIPAS was set up after the Indo China war in 1962 with the thrust area identification of high altitude physiology, nutrition and biochemistry of human in and also with the urgent need felt for ergonomic assessment of workstations and machine interface. The laboratory carries out various researches and studies to look into the aspect of high altitude warfare.