VARIOUS women’s organisations held a militant protest demonstration outside the Vasant Kunj (North) police station on March 20, against the inordinate delay by the police in arresting Prof Atul Johri who has been accused of sexual harassment by nine women students. Professor Atul Johri is a senior professor at the School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University. The harassment of girl students in JNU is highly condemnable and shameful. Nine students from his laboratory have registered a police complaint against Prof Johri. The university administration too has shown him undue favour and has not yet suspended him. Professor Johri still occupies some important administrative positions (like wardenship of Chandrabhaga hostel) within the university. He is also likely to use his administrative clout to influence any probe into these charges. Pressure is already being exerted on the girls to withdraw the complaint.
A delegation led by P K Sreemathi, MP met the SHO Gagan Bhaskar, ACP K P Kukretti and additional ACP Monika Bhardwaj. The police officers assured the delegation that their inquiry in this matter is complete and that they would take the necessary steps soon.
Women’s organisations demanded that the JNU administration must act immediately to suspend Prof Johri and bar him from supervising any students till the investigation is completed. Protection must be given to the students who have complained, and all other students and teachers who may be questioned in this case.
The delay in taking any action on this compliant proves that the Delhi Police is acting under pressure and is deliberately moving very slowly in the case. This gives an impression that the police are protecting someone accused of a crime against women. The women demanded that: 1) Prof. Atul Johri be arrested immediately; 2) The investigating officer and other police officials are instructed to file charges against the accused at the earliest and 3) Witnesses in the case are protected and the university is notified that no interference will be tolerated in the future.
The organisations that participated in the demonstration were: All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), All India Mahila Sanskritik Sanghatan (AIMSS), All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), Domestic Workers’ Union, India Centre for Blind Women and Disability Studies (NAB), Joint Women’s Program(JWP), Purogami Mahila Sanghatan (PMS), National Federation of Indian Women, Delhi(NFIW), Saheli, Sangwari, Swastik Mahila Sanghatan and Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of Delhi.