At least two JNU students have been issued “warning letters” for writing texts on walls and roads inside the campus demanding action against professor Atul Johri, who is facing sexual harassment charges, prompting angry reaction from the students union which termed it as “intimidation” tactics. Chief Proctor of the varsity Kaushal Kumar issued a “warning letter” to the students on April 9 which said, “It has been alleged that you were involved in writing ‘Suspend Johri’ on road in front of School of Physical Sciences on March 27 at 6 pm.
You are hereby warned and advised to be careful in future. You must restrain yourself from such activities that violate norms of discipline.” Strict disciplinary action will be taken against you otherwise, it added. “This is surprising and highly condemnable. Eight FIRs have been registered against the professor and the varsity has not taken any action.
When we are protesting to demand his suspension, we are issued warning letters,” Srabani Chakraborty, one of the students who was issued the letter, told PTI. The letter did not specify which clause of the varsity’s rule book was violated and the Chief Proctor could not be reached for his reaction. JNU’s rules of discipline of students says involvement in any of the following would attract punishment, “Use of abusive, defamatory, derogatory or intimidatory language against any member of the varsity community. Damaging or defacing, in any form any property of the university or the property of any member of the varsity community. Any other act which may be considered by the VC or any other competent authority to be an act of violation of discipline and conduct.”
However, the students union has decried the varsity action, alleging that it was intimidation of protesting students considering that the JNU culture has a history of students painting and writing texts inside the campus on various issues. JNU Students Union President Geeta Kumari said, “This is clear case of intimidating students who are standing with eight girl students who have come out to report sexual harassment by the professor. It has been JNU culture to paint and write texts on campus on various issues.
Administration issuing warning letter for this case clearly shows how they are protecting him.” Professor Atul Johri was arrested on March 20 for allegedly sexually harassing several women students. He was however granted bail within hours.