A protest march of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students and JNU Teacher’s Association was halted by the Delhi Police near INA Market as it turned ugly with students involved in altercations with police officials. The march has been launched in protest against the release of Professor Atul Johri, who was arrested on Tuesday after sexual harassment allegations were levelled against him by a group of female students. The professor was, however, granted bail within 80 minutes of his arrest which incited rage among the students as they took to streets to voice their opinion.
Demanding the JNU administration to suspend Johri and ban him from entering the university campus, the students in large numbers flooded the streets of the capital as they marched towards Parliament to stage a protest. Apart from Professor Johri’s arrest, the students also vented their frustration regarding the recent fee hike which, according to them, was ‘unreasonable’ and ‘unexplainable’ on the university’s part. The protest march of the students was halted by the police and a few protesters were detained after the use of water cannons to control the crowd.
On March 16, a case was registered against Professor Johri after the women students filed sexual harassment complaints against him. He was booked under the charges of outraging the modesty of women. The students were backed by women’s right organisations, including the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and the All India Mahila Sanskritik Sanghatan, demonstrated outside the police station on Tuesday, demanding Johri’s arrest.
The Patiala House Court in its bail plea said the allegations of sexual misconduct made by the students pertained to 2013-14 and the FIR was registered in 2018, which had a significant delay. “There is an unexplainable inordinate delay of four years in the registration of the FIR,” read the bail plea.
Clarifying his stand on the matter, Johri had said he was being targeted by the students for some attendance issue. “Some 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,” the professor was quoted as saying.
Earlier on March 20, an FIR was lodged against JNUSU president Geeta Kumari, vice president Zoya Khan and others for holding the Dean of Students hostage and creating ruckus inside his office.