Atul Johri is influential and provokes girls against each other, say conplainants

New Delhi, (IANS): Five of the eight JNU students, who have accused a senior professor of molestation, on Wednesday said they did not report the incidents of molestation to the university’s anti-harassment committee because the panel is full of supporters of the “highly influential” teacher.

A day after Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) teacher Atul Johri, was arrested and released on bail, the five students told reporters that they were being pressured to withdraw their complaints.

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As the questions were being raised why the accusers did not report their complaints to the university’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), the students said they did not have faith in the panel whose members “are all close associates of Atul Johri”.

“He (Atul Johri) is a highly influential person in JNU. Apart from being a professor, he holds many positions at administrative level. He creates circumstances by provoking girls against each other. When a junior of ours (Life Sciences Department) submitted a written complaint against Johri, we all gathered courage and spoke up,” one of the complainants said.

On March 16, the police had registered only one FIR based on nine complaints. But on Tuesday, they registered eight FIRs against Johri on separate complaints of nine students, who alleged that he sexually harassed them in a lab of the School of Life Sciences.

“We all have individual cases. Some of us have been facing the harassment for four-five years and some faced in recent times. We took up the matter with the Dean but it was not a written complaint and the matter was not considered serious,” another accuser added.

They said that they also had been facing “pressure from various external sources” to withdraw the case.

“The excuse of attendance is being made to give the issue a political colour. There is no relation between attendance and sexual harassment. We will continue to protest till he is removed from all administrative posts he holds,” said one of the complainants.