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Sacked professor, who wanted his students to wear bikinis, reinstated by Najeeb Jung

On the day when the city has been rattled by a rape incident, it has come to fore that Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has surreptitiously reinstated a professor who was terminated on the charges of sexual harassment nearly a decade ago. Professor Makhan Lal, who was sacked by Sheila Dikshit government over sexual harassment charges in 2004, was reinstated by Delhi government following an approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Lal is a right-wing ideologue and following his termination from Delhi government, he was cooling his heels at Vivekanand International Foundation, which for several years was headed by current National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Prof Lal was suspended from Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management (DIHRM) and subsequently dismissed after the inquiry in the matter proved his guilt. However, he has been reinstated with all benefits with retrospective effect. The inquiry panel constituted by National Commission of Women, incidentally, included Nirmala Sitharaman, who is now a union minister. The complaint had alleged that Prof Lal told the students, who were travelling to Khajuraho and Bhubaneshwar on an academic trip, that ‘girls must carry their bikinis if they want to enjoy the beaches of Puri.’

Prof Lal quietly rejoined DIHRM on November 21 following an order issued by Delhi L-G Jung who recorded his ‘severe displeasure’ at the way the historian was kept out by the then Delhi government under Sheila Dikshit, disregarding a note from the then L-G Tejinder Khanna. On January 6, 2010, Khanna had pointed out that Prof Lal had to be reinstated as the disciplinary action against him was not initiated by the relevant authority, in this case the L-G. But the Delhi government had, in the meantime, sought advice from the then Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati who noted on July 28, 2010 that the L-G was not the disciplinary authority for Prof Lal but ‘the Board of Management of DIHRM’.

On August 16, 2010, DIHRM’s vice-chairman KK Chakraborty, on behalf of the board, issued orders for the ‘removal’ of Prof Lal. The action against Prof Lal was based on reports from a NCW panel of Nafisa Hussain and Nirmala Sitharaman, who is now a Minister of State, and an internal panel of the Guru Gobind Indraprastha University, following a complaint filed in November 2003 that he had allegedly passed lewd remarks in the presence of girl students.
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