Two JNUSU members resign over impropriety charges

Two JNUSU members resign over impropriety charges

JNU Students’ Union president Akbar Chawdhary and joint secretary Sarfaraz Hamid resigned from their posts after being cornered by the university’s Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) for making a public disclosure of a sexual harassment case filed against them. 

“This is to inform the student community that JNUSU president and joint secretary are no longer holding their offices,” said a notice issued by the student union on Monday. 

The issue came to light last week when the two accused put up posters on the university premises to deny charges of sexual harassment. “If the GSCASH takes up the complaint for enquiry, we will step down from our posts in the JNUSU. In keeping with those rules, procedures and principles that we all hold dear, we are bound to engage in public discussion regarding the complaint or put forward a public defence in any way,” Chawdhary and Hamid had said in a joint statement.

This drew angry reactions from rival student outfits. “We demanded their resignation because they made a public statement which was in violation of the rules and procedures of the GSCASH. It also amounted to an attempt to put pressure on the complainant and to mobilise public opinion in favour of the defendants,” said Subin Dennis of Students’ Federation of India (SFI). 

“SFI has made it clear that this demand was not being made on the basis of the merits of the case, which nobody except the GSCASH has any right to go into,” he added. 

When contacted on Monday, Chawdhary did not confirm that he had resigned. “I can’t say anything about it,” he said, pointing out that he is under ‘pressure’ from the committee. 

Earlier, taking objection in this case, the GSCASH had said that such public declarations increase rumour mongering within the student community and speculation regarding the nature and details of the case.  

“Those posters were detrimental to independent investigation. As persons occupying positions of considerable influence, they should not have done this,” said a PhD student at the university, adding that the representatives drew the students’ ire after the committee made an emphasis on maintaining confidentiality.