The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to Jawaharlal Nehru University and three professors on a petition filed a student who has alleged that the professor has deliberately tried to stop his PhD registration on frivolous grounds because he helped a student who was allegedly sexually harassed by one of the professors at JNU. The notice has been issued to the university; professor Mahendra P Lama of the Centre for South Asian Studies; Rajesh Kharat, former chairperson of the Centre for South Asian Studies; and Ajay Patnaik, former Dean at the School of International Studies (SIS).
In his petition, filed a week ago, the student had alleged that the sexual harassment incident took place in October last year and the petitioner, also a student, helped the victim escape. Once the accused professors got to know, the professors at first didn’t clear his synopsis, following which the student wrote to the vice-chancellor, the petitioner claims. Once his synopsis was cleared, the student claims his PhD registration was stopped. He claims that while he made a representation in January, nothing happened till now and hence he has moved court.
On Thursday, some students at JNU had held protests against the said professors, demanding an investigation in all 31 pending cases of sexual harassment against the professors.
In this connection, we demand:
1. SUSPEND Mahendra Lama, Rajesh Kharat, and Ajay Patnaik immediately!
2. Open and reinvestigate all the 31 cases of alleged sexual harassment in JNU
3. Safeguard the interests of the complainants.#PatnaikShieldsRapist #CleanJNU pic.twitter.com/NXIRBXuQyk
— Saurabh Sharma (@SaurabhJNU) March 22, 2018
However, shockingly, the champions of women’s rights and the paragon of liberal feminism, Kavita Krishnan and Shehla Rashid as well as Professor Ayesha Kidwai, President of Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) have not uttered a single word against Professor Lama who is accused of sexual harassment. Earlier this week, the same people had taken social media by storm and held up traffic even as an injured child bled profusely while protesting against Delhi Police demanding action being taken against Professor Atul Johri, who is also accused of sexual harassment by a number of students.
According to reports, the incident came to light when the contents of the email allegedly sent by the woman scholar to the Vice-Chancellor went viral. In her email, the woman had claimed she has registered a complaint of sexual harassment against Prof. Mahendra P Lama and Prof. Rajesh Kharat with the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of the university on 8 January. Prof. Lama had outrightly refuted the allegations made against him.
The double standards of these self-proclaimed feminists are shocking. The accused professors, Prof. Lama and Prof. Kharat are believed to be Leftists. Surprisingly, as soon as the news of High Court order issued against the accused professors came out, the protests and prime-time debates demanding Professor Atul Johri’s arrest, who is also accused of sexual harassment, have died down. Rashid and Krishnan have not tweeted in over 24 hours demanding Johri’s arrest.
This is not the first time the so-called feminists have come together to defend one of their own against accusations of sexual harassment. Similarly, one Raya Sarkar put up a list of academics accusing them of sexual misconduct towards women, especially students, a list of 14 ‘feminists’ had written a post that they are against the idea of ‘name and shame’ the sexual predators. These ‘feminists’ who insisted on following a ‘due process’ include Kavita Krishnan, who, ironically, is the Secretary at All India Progressive Women’s Association and till two days back very, very vocal about arresting Professor Johri, and Ayesha Kidwai, President, JNUTA who has also earlier allegedly threatened students and tried to protect Ashraf Alam, a JNU professor accused and found guilty of sexual molestation of a student in JNU, by indulging in victim shaming.
This makes one wonder are they trying to hide something? Are they trying to save one of their own through their silence?