JNU students clash with Delhi Police, seek immediate action against professor charged with sexual assault

Clashes broke out between Delhi Police and students of Jawaharlal National University (JNU) in front of Vasant Kunj police station, where the students were protesting against a professor who had allegedly sexually harassed students in class. Protesting students have blocked the highway, breached police barricades, and have refused to attend classes until action is taken against the tainted teacher.

Around nine women students have accused JNU professor Atul Johri of Life Science stream of sexual harassment and have been seeking his arrest since Thursday, but the police is yet to take any action, India Today reported.

Meanwhile, the issue ignited another point of conflict between the varsity administration and the students as JNU's internal committee claimed that they have not received any such complaint while the students maintained that the university administration has not taken any action despite repeated complaints and has been trying to 'shield' the professor. Former president of JNU students' union Kanhaiya Kumar told India Today, "No crime should be forgiven on the basis of an individual's profession. The vice-chancellor should have taken immediate action."

Meanwhile, DCP South West  Milind Dumbere said the matter is being dealt with according to the established procedure and the accused professor has been issued a notice and has been called to join the investigation on Tuesday.

According to The Hindu, several teachers have also pointed out that as faculty who have supported the Gender Sensitisation Committee against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH), they were upset that the complainants had to contact the police on an issue that could have been pursued within the university. One protester noted that a full working day has passed after the complaint was filed, but "police has done no investigation".

Meanwhile, JNU Students Union President Geeta Kumari told IANS, "Police is intently favouring the accused trying to safeguard him from the charges. On Monday, only four people which did not include the accused were questioned." On Thursday, Kumari said when seven students from JNU lodged a complaint of sexual misbehaviour at Vasant Kunj police station against the professor, police registered the complaints with only one name. "This is shameful," she said.

"We demand his immediate arrest. If police thinks they can play clever with us... we protesting students standing here will also claim that we feel threatened with him moving around freely," Kumari said.

Earlier on Monday, accusing the police of disregarding procedures, 54 JNU professors demanded registration of separate FIRs in all eight complaints of sexual harassment filed against professor Johri.

 JNU students clash with Delhi Police, seek immediate action against professor charged with sexual assault

File image of the JNU campus. Image courtesy: JNU website.

They petitioned Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-West) Milind Dumbere's office two days after the Delhi Police registered an FIR against professor Johri following allegations of sexual harassment by a group of women students.

The teachers said eight complaints were filed by as many women students, however, the Delhi Police chose to register only one FIR based on only one of the complaints.

"Even though you have received 8 complaints, each of which reports incidents that are distinct and separated by space and time, you have chosen to register only one FIR under only one of the names. We are shocked to learn this as the law requires that a separate FIR is registered for each complaint," the petition said.

They also demanded separate statements of all the complainants be recorded on Monday itself. "This disregard for even basic procedure suggests to us that the Delhi Police has no intention of seriously proceeding against Atul Johri," the petition said.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Mar 19, 2018 21:46:48 IST