Poster war in JNU over harassment case

Poster war in JNU over harassment case

The notice wall outside hostels, different departments and even dhabhas of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is plastered with posters of the Gender Sensi-tisation Committee against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) and statements made by the president and the joint secretary of JNU’s student union.

In response to all these, rival political parties too have joined the fray and are playing their
part in furthering their own political agenda. Given that JNU Student’s Union president Akbar Chowdhary and joint secretary Sarfaraz Hamid have been allegedly accused of sexual harassment in a complaint filed with the GSCASH, the two have brought out the case in public by putting posters in the campus in their defence.

“We were informed of this complaint on 24 July and shocked by it. If the GSCASH takes up the complaint for enquiry, we will step down from our posts in the JNUSU and our organisation will cooperate fully with the enquiry,” reads the poster.

In response to the public disclosure by JNUSU office bearers, the  GSCASH in a strong statement clarifies, “Such a public declaration brings the matter into public domain and only increases rumour-mongering within the student community, whisper campaigns and speculations regarding the nature and the details of the case, as well as the name of the complainant.”According to the statement, “It is precisely to avoid such a situation in which there are attempts to find out who the complainant is/are, and make attempts to pressurise him/her, that a restraint order is issued to the defendants and the process of enquiry is kept confidential.”

When Metrolife contacted the GSCASH representative, they refused to talk about the issue.Different political parties have also expressed their anger against the situation. The Student Federation of India (SFI) has criticised the incident saying, “By fuelling the rumour mills through public statement, the JNUSU office bearers have failed to live up to the highest standards that have been the hallmark of the JUNUSU in dealing with the cases before GSCASH.

As persons occupying positions of considerable influence, it is most unbecoming that they have resorted to steps which have turned something that the vast majority of the students in the campus didn’t know about it.”

NSUI calls it a dearth of morality, their poster reads, “It is most unfortunate on the part of AISA that stands in defence of both its member. Where is the feminist ethos of which they pose to be the champions? Has self-interest taken over their political sagacity and prudence? The two persons involved must resign from JNUSU and, AISA should stop defending them.”Amidst all this, students are undoubtedly in support of GSCASH, while there are a few who call it a ‘political gimmick’.

A member of a political party, preferring anonymity, says, “In the last few years several cases of sexual harassment have been reported. Girls who have filed the case were already in a relationship with the alleged accused for a few years. Men will always be considered culpable when a woman files a complaint. Political parties only want to reap benefits out of it. I believe, nobody should be judgemental about the issue at the initial stage.”