JNU sexual harassment case: Amidst the ongoing controversy at Jawaharlal Nehru University, the demand for the registration of FIRs against JNU professor Atul Kumar Johri has triggered a protest by the students. Reportedly, more than a hundred JNU students took out a protest march to the Vasant Kunj police station on Monday seeking the registration of separate FIRs against the accused professor. The protest was triggered after the police filed a single FIR in place of 8 different ones.
The students then went on to accuse the men in uniform of “inaction” in the matter. Simone Zoya Khan, the JNU Students’ Union vice-president, said, “Four days after eight women students came forward with sexual harassment complaints against the professor, no action has been taken against him and just one FIR has been lodged.”
When the Delhi police filed just one FIR, students went on to raise slogans against the university officials and Delhi Police. A minor tussle even took place between the two parties after the students tried to break the barricades which were put up by the police. Ajay Chaudhary, the Joint Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) stated the a probe was underway in the whole the case and also said that a notice has been send to the accused, asking him to join the investigation. He added, “Action will be initiated as per law. The investigation is being closely monitored by the additional deputy commissioner of police (South-west).”
The JNUSU released a statement saying, “The Delhi Police has postponed the recording (of statement) of Atul Johri till tomorrow. This (recording) could have been done today itself. We believe that the postponement was done to give him more time. Since an FIR has been registered, he should be interrogated in custody and not given time to protect himself. By giving him more time, the Delhi Police is actively protecting him.”
The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has also sent a notice to the Delhi Police seeking a status report of the case and reasons for not arresting the accused. Another notice has been sent to the Vasant Kunj police by the JNU Registrar Pramod Kumar. The registrar has sought details of the complaints against the professor and the action-taken report thereon. Along with the students several other JNU professors have also demanded action against Johri.
What is the controversy about?
The accused JNU professor was booked on March 16 after a case against him was registered by the police following sexual harassment allegations made against him by a group of women students. The FIR was registered at the Vasant Kunj police station in southwest Delhi. The women students issued a statement that was held at the JNU campus prior to the filling of the FIR saying, “the professor often makes sexually-coloured remarks, open demands for sex and comments on the figure of almost every girl. If a girl objects, he holds a grudge against her.” It added that “there is a financial nexus between the professor and the administration. No instrument has been purchased for years, but still crores of rupees have been spent.”
In a letter to the Dean, the students said, “As you already know an FIR has been filed against the professor and since he is in several positions of power and holding university posts, we ask you to immediately inform the vice- chancellor and university administration to suspend him from all the positions.”