New Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is in the news for all the wrong reasons. Recently, several Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members have alleged that in the last 15-20 days, there have been at least four cases of sexual harassment on the JNU campus. As claimed by ABVP members, most of the accused are either from the All India Students’ Association (AISA) or The National Students’ Union of India (NSUI).
On 31 May 2022, the Internal Complaint Committee of JNU issued a statement stating that “…As soon as the complaint was lodged and received on 27th May 2022 at 7:46 pm, the inquiry of the case was started following due process.” The Sunday Guardian spoke to several students of JNU, including ABVP activists and AISA students, and received several complaints of sexual harassment and molestation cases inside the campus.
“The survivor is from Bihar and is a first-year student of Political Science and was staying in the Koeyna dormitory. The incident took place in April 2022, but the complaint was lodged after a month. The accused, Prasanna Raj, is also a student of Political Science. The girl was harassed and later threatened, and she reported this to her chairperson, but the chairperson didn’t take any action. Though the faculty meeting took place, nothing was concluded. Since she was a new student, she didn’t know whom to report to, so she believed that the chairperson would be the most competent authority,” Rohit Kumar ABVP JNU president told this paper.
Other members of ABVP claimed that four of her classmates had said that they were being socially boycotted along with the survivor. Also, ABVP members claimed that AISA didn’t cancel the family membership of Prasanna Raj; however, he was suspended from attending the events for some time.
Another first-year student from Political Science, who wished to remain anonymous, told this paper, “Most of the accused people are from AISA; we are waiting for the ICC to take stringent action against the accused one. Party shuffle is quite a common game, the accused Prasanna Raj, is a primary member of AISA, but I have no information on whether AISA has taken any action against him or not. In this case, the survivor has not lodged an FIR.”
However, many activists from the left-wing organisation have been claiming that the ABVP activists have been accusing them for no reason. Following this, Aishe Ghosh, the President of JNUSU, told this paper, “The matter has been taken up by the ABVP in a different way. We are in continuous touch with the survivor and are helping her. We also held a protest in front of the ICC because the survivors are not confident enough to come forward and complain. The other political parties have been complaining and targeting left activists without any concrete proof. The JNUSU also helped the survivor to complain to the ICC which has already been done, and we expect the ICC to take action. Sometimes, the ABVP members take out parcha accusing that the molester or the harasser is from the Left organisation, but it is not always the case.”
The Sunday Guardian also sought a response from the Public Relations Officer of JNU and the Vice-Chancellor, but no proper reply has been received so far. The Presiding officer of the ICC Prof Punam Kumari told this paper that the committee observes a zero-tolerance policy toward any sexual harassment on the campus and has been trying to resolve the cases within 90 days. However, the committee didn’t provide any information on the number of cases they had received in the last month.
According to sources inside the Vasant Kunj Police Station (North), two separate cases have also been filed in the last month, where both the victims have been students of JNU.