JNU Professor, accused of sexual assault still out on bail
Atul Johri, a professor in the school of life Sciences has been accused of sexual assault by the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University.
However the students had to undertake a long journey to get the authorities to act in Johri's case.
The entire scuffle started on 14th of March, when an email of one of Johri's students went viral indicating a possibility of sexual harassment by the professor.
After the students of the School of Life Sciences came out with their official statement on 16th March, they discovered that this was not the only incident of sexual assault by Johri.
While in an ideal world FIRs would be filed immediately and Johri would've been taken into police custody, but none of this happened in the real world. Eight complaints were filed by the students on 16th March in the Vasant Kunj police Station and the police registered all the complaints under one FIR. Around a week later, after a lot of pressure from the teachers and student associations of JNU, the police filed eight separate FIRs.
Students held protests outside the Vasant Kunj police station on the 19th of March and only after that did the police felt pressured enough to call the accused for questioning on the 20th March, which was four days after the FIR was filed. The students felt somewhat reassured as indications of Johri's arrest were given by the police.
The students again mobilized and gave the call for a Long March inspired by the farmers of Maharashtra, on 23rd March from JNU to the Parliament on a plethora of issues ranging from the Johri case, to forced autonomy granted to a number of universities and also violation of bureaucratic and academic rules and regulations in university campuses throughout. The march which was expected to be peaceful turned extremely violent as soon as the procession reached the INA market, leaving many students injured. About 23 students were dragged behind the barricades by the police and were badly beaten, according to the witnesses. They were finally released at around 10 pm in the night and then taken to AIIMS. They finally returned back to the campus at around 4 am in the morning. Next day the Delhi Police filed FIRs against those 23 detainees.
And to top it all Johri was granted bail within about 45 minutes of his arrest after he was summoned in Delhi's Patiala house Court on 24th March. It is also important to note that the charges pressed against him come under Section 354 of the IPC which i.e. assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty and Section 509 of the IPC i.e. word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman, which are non bailable charges.
The Vice Chancellor of JNU Prof. Jagadesh Kumar said that the students should have entrusted their faith in the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of the University. To this the students said that the ICC is a nomination based committee and has members who are close to Atul Johri.
In their press conference on 16th, the students had pointed out that females across the batches have been facing this problem since the last 4-5 years. They also claimed that they had a verbal communication with the Dean about the replacement of Atul johri as their supervisor but no action was taken.
As of now the accused is still out on bail and very much present on the campus. As Johri still holds the position of power it is essential that the university administration wakes up and suspends him till the time a proper judgement is given regarding the case.