Prof Atul Johri of Jawaharlal Nehru University has been charged with sexual harassment after some students lodged an FIR.
Seven complainants along with other JNU students went to the Vasant Vihar police station at around 12.30 am on Thursday to lodge the FIR. Student Union’s vice-president Simone Zoya Khan said cops showed resistance in filing the FIR. “They kept asking us to come the next morning. They were dilly-dallying the whole process,” Khan told SheThePeople.TV.
She added, “But we started our protest outside the police station. We told them we won’t budge without filing the FIR. We managed to file the complaint around 2.30 am.”
DCP (South-West) Milind Dumbere said a case has been registered under sections 354 and 509, reported The Hindu.
ABUSE OF POWER
Khan alleged that Johri, professor of School of Life Sciences, has been harassing girls for over four years. He wouldn’t give the girls required chemicals or apparatus if they didn’t comply with his demands, claimed Khan
“He would seclude the girl students and not let her enter the lab at all for more than two years or make them sit in a different place if they told him off.”
One of the complainants even sent an email to Johri saying that he is a “characterless person” and did not have “manners to talk to girls”. The email was later leaked online.
The women said the professor often “made sexually coloured remarks, openly demanded sex and commented on the figure of almost every woman. If a woman objected, he held a grudge against her and threatened to ruin her research career”
After students from SLS got to know that seven women filed a police complaint, two more joined in filing FIRs.
GSCASH v/s ICC
The members of Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) committee, which the university administration eliminated last year, are handling the case. Khan said the students and GSCASH committee members are demanding that Johri be ousted.
On why they did not approach JNU’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), Khan said the students do not consider it of any value. “Every time we feel there is a harassment case or the complainants feel insecure, they approach GSCASH because it has that sort of trust among the students and assures a fair enquiry.”
She also claimed that ICC takes punitive action against a complainant if she is not able to prove her harasser guilty of some crime. ICC charges Rs 40,000 fine in such cases
“For a sexual harassment committee, it has to be approachable. As it is it takes a lot of strength for a person to come out and talk about their incident. Especially when the situation involves a professor who has the authority to ruin their career,” said Khan.
However, GSCASH is only active in a personal sort of way. They help with mentoring, legal aid and counselling.
Currently, protests are going on in the university and the students are demanding Johri’s arrest. The administration told protesters, “We will look into their grievances through the appropriate body as per the rules/mechanism of the university.”
Police are yet to take action against Johri.