Suspend professor accused of sexual misconduct, demand JNU students

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New Delhi, March 16 (IANS) Jawaharlal Nehru University students on Friday staged a protest against the administration for delaying the suspension orders of a professor accused of sexual harassment.

“The administration is willingly delaying the suspension process of the accused thinking they can manage to strike a negotiation with the students by pressurising them and forcing them to take the case to internal complaints committee which is a body not trusted by any student here,” said one of the complainer studying at the School of Life Sciences.

“The university is in crisis. One side, Chairpersons, Deans are being replaced and now complainants are being intimidated and most of them has been confined to their rooms by administration since afternoon,” she alleged.

The protester also said that they were waiting outside the administration block but no official came as “all of them have left before their working hours”.

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On Thursday night, seven students from the School of Life Science has filed a sexual harassment complaints at Vasant Kunj police station against Professor Atul Johari of the school.

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Southwest, Milind Mahadeo Dumbre said: “We have registered an FIR under Section 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) (of the Indian Penal Code) but we have not summoned the accused for questioning as we are probing the matter.”

Scores of students gathered outside the administration block on Friday shouting slogans against the administration and the professor and demanding his immediate suspension.

“Why is administration scared of taking any action? Why aren’t they suspending him for a fair inquiry? If they deny our demand, we will launch a full-fledged movement in the entire campus and outside the police station,” another of the complainant students told IANS.

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Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union President Geeta Kumari, who accompanied all the complainants to the police station on Thursday, claimed that the misconduct of the professor is “well-known” and made various other allegations against him.

Johari couldn’t be reached despite many repeated attempts. However, as per reports he has denied “all the charges” and has alleged that “these accusation by students is purposefully targeting him for his vocal advocacy of compulsory attendance which most students are against”.

But the complainants dismissed his claim.

Another complainant who has accused him of sexual misbehaviour asked how could someone can even think of comparing the harassment charges with attendance row. “There are few students among complainants who are pass-outs and have completed their PhD. We have proof of CCD footage, registry of attending labs about out attendance if needed,” she said.–IANS

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