Published: 22nd January 2022
Delhi Women's Commission issues notice to JNU, says ICC does not have proper student representation
Apart from asking about several details regarding GCASH and ICC, the DWC has also ordered the varsity to provide a detailed action report in the matter of the recent alleged sexual assault on campus
The Delhi Women's Commission (DWC) has issued a notice to the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in connection with the alleged molestation attempt on campus earlier this week. In the letter addressed to the Registrar of the varsity, the Chairperson of the DWC, Swati Maliwal, has asked the JNU administration to furnish details regarding the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), which currently handles cases of sexual assault on campus. The commission has also said that all information demanded must be provided by January 27, 2022.
The commission took notice of the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH), which dealt with accusations of sexual assault in JNU. The committee was dissolved in 2017 and ICC has been handling such matters ever since. However, after the recent assault, which has seen students launching protests demanding the Delhi Police make haste in catching the culprit, has also seen voices being raised for the reinstatement of GSCASH.
On January 17, a man, reportedly a student of the varsity, dragged a woman student off the road in front of the VC's residence and attempted to rape her. The Delhi police have lodged an FIR in the matter and say that an investigation is underway. The DWC has demanded a detailed action report on this matter from the varsity in the notice issued.
The students believe that GSCASH is better equipped when it comes to handling such issues and ICC's methods of tackling the matter were not up to the mark. "There have been serious lapses on the part of the JNU security and the JNU administration should take responsibility and ensure a safe and healthy learning space," she said. "The first step towards ensuring a gender-just and safe space for all should be the reinstating of GSCASH and dismantling the puppet body of ICC. We demand that the perpetrator be identified immediately and brought to justice. Moreover, a regular gender sensitisation workshop should be conducted for students, the JNU security and all members of the JNU community," Anagha Pradeep, a PhD student at JNU, and a representative of GSCASH, tells Edexlive.
The DWC has now asked the JNU administration to submit details about the current members of ICC and GSCASH, how they are elected and what their tenures look like. It also demands that JNU make transparent its attempt at ensuring representation in the ICC. "It appears that the disbanded GSCASH had proper representation of students and teachers and GSCASH was more effective in dealing with cases of sexual harassment than the current Internal Complaints Committee constituted by the University. It also appears that the currently constituted Internal Complaints Committee does not have proper representation of the students," reads the notice.
The notice also asks what the administration is doing to look into the demands of reconstitution of GSCASH, which were made by the students, and the steps that it is taking to ensure the safety of students on campus.