JNU teacher under scanner over sexual harassment claims | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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JNU teacher under scanner over sexual harassment claims

Apr 30, 2024 02:55 AM IST

Students at JNU protest alleged inaction by the university's Internal Complains Committee against a senior professor accused of harassment.

Several students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) Centre of Chinese and South East Asian Studies (CC&SEAS) along with members of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) protested on campus on Monday alleging inaction by the varsity’s Internal Complains Committee (ICC) against a senior professor accused of harassing a student of CC&SEAS.

The complainant told HT that the professor would arrange in-person meetings with her and send her lewd poems. (Representational image)
The complainant told HT that the professor would arrange in-person meetings with her and send her lewd poems. (Representational image)

According to the students, the professor had been harassing the woman for several months following which she lodged a formal complaint with ICC on April 10.

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The complainant told HT that the professor would arrange in-person meetings with her and send her lewd poems. “He was suggesting a special relationship between us and this continued for months. When I refused to meet him, he would harass my friends to ask about my whereabouts and even threaten to fail us,” said the woman.

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HT reached out to university vice-chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit as well as the accused professor but neither responded to queries seeking comments.

The woman and her friends also claimed to have approached the police. “We even showed evidence to the station house officer (SHO) of Vasant Kunj (north) police station, including screenshots of all the texts that the professor had sent but we were just told that they would take it up eventually. However, no further action was taken,” a student said.

Deputy commissioner of police (southwest) Rohit Meena confirmed police received an email complaint from the woman. “We are waiting for a written statement. An FIR will soon be registered,” said Meena.

“All matters with ICC are strictly confidential. Enquiries on all matters are in process,” said presiding officer of the ICC.

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According to the JNUSU, the professor continued to conduct classes despite the complaint. “Upon no concrete action, the students of CC&SEAS filed a complaint of sexual, mental and academic harassment on April 15 with the ICC. Even then, no action was taken, neither was any interim relief provided to the survivor or the class,” JNUSU said in a statement on Monday, expressing solidarity with the students of the departments concerned.

“Furthermore, the professor should be immediately restrained and strict action be taken against him, including suspension,” JNUSU said in their statement.

“The administration should make sure that no student of the centre, especially if the complainant faces any academic harm or backlash due to their strong resolve against sexual harassment. Moreover, the university should conduct regular gender-sensitisation sessions,” the students’ body added.

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A second student and a close friend of the complainant said, initially, there was the occasional inappropriate comment in class but nothing beyond that. “However, events took a serious turn on January 23, 2024, which was the first time he started texting lewd poems to our friend and started harassing some of us as well to ask about her whereabouts,” the student said.

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