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Molestation of student: JNU teachers, pupils raise issue of campus safety

They alleged that there has been a string of security lapses on the campus and pointed out that the accused in the January 2020 attack on teachers and students are yet to be arrested.

Published: 19th January 2022 12:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th January 2022 12:22 AM   |  A+A-

JNU

Jawaharlal Nehru campus. (File Photo | EPS)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers' Association (JNUTA) and the students' union on Tuesday accused the varsity administration of neglecting campus safety after a Ph.D. student was allegedly molested there on Monday night.

They alleged that there has been a string of security lapses on the campus and pointed out that the accused in the January 2020 attack on teachers and students are yet to be arrested.

"There have been burglaries in the houses of faculty members, the January 5 attack when masked men entered the campus and attacked students and teachers and then this incident," JNUTA secretary Moushumi Basu said.

"Students work in the libraries and the incident happened on a well-lit road near the East Gate and the accused sped off towards the North Gate where the security guards are deployed and there are CCTV Cameras," she said.

She also raised questions on the working of Cyclops security agency.

"The QRT vehicle came after 15 minutes of being informed of the incident though it was patrolling inside the campus," she said.

She said that the Cyclops security agency comprises ex-servicemen but there have been a number of problems.

In September last year, the university's vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar had said that the contract of the security agency (that had expired) was extended till the process of appointing a new security agency was completed.

This process will require at least six months, he had said.

The JNUTA had alleged at that time that their contract was renewed.

The JNU campus is spread over 1,000 acres and has a large green area.

According to the students' union, the incident happened around 11.45 on Monday near the VC house.

"This has brought to surface the very question of women's safety that the administration has always chosen to neglect and is another reflection of the sluggishness with which crimes against women are taken up in our country in general and the JNU campus under the VC in particular," it said.

The students' body alleged that there has been an increase in "gender insensitivity in the campus with normalising of sexist comments and misappropriate remarks along with an alarming increase in cases of stalking and harassment".

"There have been many instances of sightings of hooligans in speeding cars, playing loud music and hooting, making it very uncomfortable for women to step outside during the night.

In most cases, it has been observed that the people involved are not even students of JNU," it alleged.

The students' union accused the security agency of being apathetic towards gender issues and women's safety.

The JNU administration replaced the Gender Sensitisation Committee against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) with the ICC in September 2017 in its 269th executive council meeting, a move which was extensively criticised by student and teacher bodies, apart from women's rights organisations.

"The said incident brings to light the failure of JNU administration that dismantled the GSCASH and replaced it with the inefficient body called the ICC.

"The incident also calls forth the need to reinstate the democratically elected GSCASH to fight against sexual harassment and to sensitise the people on campus regarding gender and gender-based crimes," the JNUSU said.

A Ph.D. student of Jawaharlal Nehru University was allegedly molested while walking in the campus around midnight on Monday, sparking a protest by students and bringing into the spotlight again the issue of security in the vast complex.

Police said that a case has been registered and several teams are working to nab the accused.

They said a PCR call regarding a female student being molested inside JNU was received at the Vasant Kunj North Police Station at around 12.45 AM on Tuesday.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (southwest) Gaurav Sharma along with SHO Vasant Kunj North and staff rushed to the spot.

"It was revealed that at around 11.45 PM on Monday, a Ph.D. student was taking a stroll in the campus. When she was walking near the East Gate road of the university, a man came on a bike from inside the campus and tried to molest her," Sharma said.

The girl raised an alarm and the accused ran away.

"Considering the gravity and sensitivity of the incident, SWD police team led by DCP Gaurav Sharma acted promptly and cognisance was immediately taken," the Delhi Police later tweeted.

"FIR No 42/22 U/s 354A/354B/323/341/379 IPC at PS Vasant Kunj North has been registered and investigation is in progress. Several teams are working since then to nab the accused," it said.

Beating dhaplis and carrying placards demanding justice for a woman, scores of students protested against the incident on Tuesday.

According to the protesters, they have given a 48-hour ultimatum to police to make arrests or else they would intensify their agitation.

They claimed the accused accosted the victim while she was walking near the East Gate, dragged her and tried to rape her.

When she resisted, he escaped after snatching her mobile phone.

"She has sustained cuts and bruises and is still in trauma. The police had shown her photographs of 25 to 30 suspects but she has said they were not involved. She says that she will be able to identify him," said a student.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union had given the protest call against the incident.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers' Association (JNUTA) and the students' union alleged that there has been a string of security lapses on the campus under the eyes of the Cyclops security agency and said the accused in the January 5, 2020 attack by masked men are yet to be arrested.

The JNU campus is spread over around 1,000 acres of land and has a large green area.

"There have been burglaries in the houses of faculty members, the January 5 attack when masked men entered the campus and attacked students and teachers and then this incident," JNUTA secretary Moushumi Basu said.

"Students work in the libraries and the incident happened on a well-lit road near the East Gate and the accused sped off towards the North Gate where the security guards are deployed and there are CCTV cameras," she said.

The students' body alleged that there has been an increase in "gender insensitivity in the campus with normalising of sexist comments and misappropriate remarks along with an alarming increase in cases of stalking and harassment".

Slogans of ''Halla Bol'', ''Dilli Police Sharm Karo'' and ''We want a safe campus'' rang through the air as students marched in the campus to demand justice for the survivor.

They were proceeding to the Vasant Kunj police station but were stopped at the West gate by the police personnel.

"We met the police officers and have given them a 48- hour ultimatum to them to arrest the accused. We also asked them to make the university administration accountable in the matter," said a student activist.

The students' union also criticised the university administration for remaining "silent" on the issue.

"There has been no statement from the university on the matter," the JNUSU said.

A student activist claimed that there have been incidents of sexual harassment on campus, especially during the lockdown.

"The campus was considered to be safe for women but this incident has sent shock waves and women will now be scared to step out."

"Women have complained of being stalked and harassed and if they have approached the security agency, they have been morally policed saying that they should not have stepped out on the road," she said.

There was no response from the university administration.

Calls to JNU VC Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar went unanswered.



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