JNU Prof Accused of Sexual Harassment Jailed for Less Than 2 Hours
An FIR was lodged against the professor Atul Johri after at least nine students accused him of molesting them.
Delhi’s Patiala House court granted bail to JNU professor Atul Johri, accused in sexual harassment case, a little more than an hour after he was arrested, on Tuesday, 20 March. Professor Johri was arrested at around 5:40 pm following protests by students, alleging sexual harassment by the professor and granted bail by 7 pm, Scroll reported.
The Delhi Police was seeking 14 days judicial custody for him.
Reacting to the professor’s almost immediate bail, five women students of the university who have filed sexual harassment complaints against him countered his claims in the bail plea on Wednesday, 21 March.
In a press conference, the five complainants said, "We are shocked at the accused getting bail. It was due to institutional hierarchy that one of the students was forced to attend birthday and festival celebrations with the professor."
There have been continuous protests by students demanding the arrest and suspension of Johri, who teaches Life Sciences in the prestigious university, after allegations of sexual harassment were levelled against him by at least nine students.
Earlier on Monday, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) had issued another notice to the Vasant Kunj police station and the JNU registrar, seeking a status report on the alleged sexual harassment case.
The Delhi Commission of Women (DCW), in a letter addressed to the JNU Registrar, has demanded a point wise answer to what safeguards had been taken to ensure the safety and security of the complainants and whether the present complaint has been looked into by the Internal Complaints Committee.
The notice issued by them also said:
The present complaints appear to display a pattern of sexual assault at workplace. Hence we recommend swift action in the matter and ensuring that the complainants are able to pursue their studies as well as their complaints in a free and fearless environment.
Meanwhile, more students have been approaching the Delhi police with complaints of sexual misconduct against Johri, the police told ANI.
The Joint Commissioner of the Delhi Police on Monday said a notice has been issued to the professor – and the statements of all the complainants have been recorded. Investigations are underway, he added.
Clashes Break Out Between Students and Police
Clashes had broken out between police and JNU students in front of the Vasant Kunj police station on Monday, 19 March, where the students were protesting against the accused professor.
The 26-year-old JNU research scholar – who had allegedly gone missing from the campus, and was found in Lucknow on Thursday, 15 March – levelled charges of sexual harassment against Johri upon being found, reported India Today.
The case had been filed in the Vasant Kunj police station under Section 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person).
“The professor often makes sexually-coloured remarks, open demands for sex and comments on the figure of almost every girl. If a girl objects, he holds a grudge against her,” students had said in a statement on 15 March.
“There is a financial nexus between the professor and the administration. No instrument has been purchased for years, but still crores of rupees have been spent,” it said. The statement was issued by them after a press meet on the JNU campus.
Students Stage Protest
Earlier in the week, large number of students of the School of Life Sciences (SLS) staged a demonstration and demanded the Dean of the school suspend the professor from all official positions and initiate an inquiry.
In a letter to the Dean, the students said:
As you already know an FIR has been filed against the professor, and since he is in several positions of power and holding university posts, we ask you to immediately inform the vice chancellor and university administration to suspend him from all the positions.
I Am Being Targeted: JNU Prof
However, according to PTI, the professor, a vocal supporter of the university administration's compulsory attendance initiative, claimed that he was being targeted for his stand on the issue.
Kasana had also sent an e-mail to the professor, saying, "I am leaving your so-called prestigious lab just because you are a characterless person and have no manners when it comes to talking to girls".
Denying the allegations, the professor said, "Some girls, who have levelled the allegations against me, had received a mail from me on 27 February, regarding their irregular attendance in the lab. So, they are targeting me".
(With inputs from ANI, PTI, The Indian Express and India Today)
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