JNU Students Protest In Huge Numbers Against Professor Atul Johri Accused Of Sexually Harassing 9 Women
Hundreds of students thronged to the streets of the capital on Monday to protest against Atul Johri, the JNU professor who is accused of sexual misconduct. The JNU students union set off a march to the Vasant Kunj Police station on Monday demanding Johri’s arrest. The #ArrestJohri hashtag became one among the top trending topics on Twitter.
Police fired water cannons to disperse the students, following a clash that broke out between the agitating students and cops, reports The Times of India. Milind Dumbere, Deputy Commissioner of Police (south-west) said that they had been dealing with the matter in accordance with the law. “Notice has been issued to the professor and he has been called tomorrow to join the investigation,” he said.
— Raj Shekhar Jha (@rajshekharTOI) March 19, 2018
Swathi Maiwal, Delhi Commision for Women Chief criticised Delhi police for the inaction in the incident and expressed her solidarity with the victims.
“JNU matter of sexual assault of 9 girls is extremely shocking. The man appears to be a serial offender. Even more shocking is the fact that Delhi Police is yet to arrest the accused. DCW is issuing notices in the matter. We are in support of the brave complainants,” she tweeted.
JNU matter of sexual assault of 9 girls is extermely shocking. The man appears to be a serial offender. Even more shocking is the fact that Delhi Police is yet to arrest the accused. DCW is issuing notices in the matter. We are in support of the brave complainants. https://t.co/LZOMTnOxxG
— Swati Jai Hind (@SwatiJaiHind) March 19, 2018
In a petition, the professors of JNU alleged that the Delhi police had registered only one FIR based on the complaints. 54 professors in the University have demanded to register separate FIRs in all complaints filed against Atul Johri so far. “This disregard for even basic procedure suggests to us that the Delhi Police has no intention of seriously proceeding against Atul Johri,” the petition said. “Even though you have received 8 complaints, each of which reports incidents that are distinct and separated by space and time, you have chosen to register only one FIR under only one of the names. We are shocked to learn this as the law requires that a separate FIR is registered for each complaint,” the petition added.
Accusing him of misconduct, at least nine women have lodged complaints against professor Atul Johri who belonged to the School of Life Sciences. The women claimed that the professor had the habit of making explicit remarks on their clothes and touched them in a bad manner while delivering lessons. An FIR was registered against him for molesting and outraging the modesty of women.
“Four days after eight women students came forward with sexual harassment complaints against the professor, no action has been taken against him and just one FIR has been lodged,” Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) vice-president Simone Zoya Khan said.
Who is Atul Johri?
Atul Johri, a professor at the School of Life Insurance in JNU, has been part of various administrative bodies and was a vocal advocate of mandatory attendance for students, as reported by The Indian Express. He did his MPhil and PhD from Delhi University. In the wake of allegations, he resigned from his posts but continues to remain the mess warden of Chandrabhaga Hostel.
Responding to the allegations, Johari said that he was being targeted by Left-leaning students. “The girls who have levelled the allegations against me had received a mail from me on February 27 regarding their irregular attendance in the lab. So, they are targeting me,” he said.