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61 Indian academics on crowd-sourced list of ‘harassers’

A DU professor, who has been named, said: “I am deeply saddened to know that this kind of malice is being circulated on social media. This is a baseless allegation against me. I have never been involved in any such activity.”

Written by Asad Ali | New Delhi | Updated: October 27, 2017 7:21 am
#MeToo, MeToo campaign, Harvey Weinstein, sexual harassment, sexual harassment case, voice against sexual harassment, indian professors named, name and shame list, raya sarkar, The #MeToo campaign is a fallout of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment allegations, the first by many actresses in the West.

A crowd-sourced list naming alleged sexual harassers in academia that was put together by California-based attorney Raya Sarkar has brought the #Metoo campaign closer to home as 61 Indian academics figure on the list. The #MeToo campaign is a fallout of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment allegations, the first by many actresses in the West.

The list put up on Sarkar’s Facebook page names teachers of Delhi University, Jadavpur University, Film and Television Institute of India and The Energy and Resources Institute, among others. A political theorist, whose name figures on the list, said: “Since I do not participate in social media, I am ignorant of the ethics of how such lists are compiled. All I can say is that I have never heard of a complaint of sexual harassment made against me, neither official, nor informal. I cannot respond any further unless I know what the complaint is.” ExpressExplained | Sexual misconduct and the idea of naming-shaming

A DU professor, who has been named, said: “I am deeply saddened to know that this kind of malice is being circulated on social media. This is a baseless allegation against me. I have never been involved in any such activity.” He, however, added: “Three years back, someone complained against me and the case was tabled before the ICC (Internal complaint committee) of the University of Delhi. The ICC found all charges to be baseless and rejected this matter. I do not understand why my name is being listed in above said list now…. After taking up this issue with the ICC, university officials and other experts, I will definitely sue this lady and file a defamation case against her.”

An academic from a Kolkata university, also named on Sarkar’s list, said he would “wait till the hysteria has died down before I say anything. I wouldn’t want to feed into any anti-feminist cause.” A professor from a university in Delhi said given the situation, “best thing to do is to keep quiet”. He refused to comment further. The name-and-shame list has divided feminist groups.

Some of India’s recognised feminist names, Ayesha Kidwai, Brinda Bose, Kavita Krishnan, Nivedita Menon, Vrinda Grover among others, put out a statement on the web portal Kafila. “We are dismayed by the initiative on Facebook, in which men are being listed and named as sexual harassers with no context or explanation. One or two names of men who have been already found guilty of sexual harassment by due process, are placed on par with unsubstantiated accusations,” the statement said.

With social media becoming the battleground where old grievances are finding a new voice, legal implications of such campaigns are gaining importance. Delhi-based lawyer Apar Gupta said: “Any allegation concerning sexual abuse or harassment is usually met with denials and claims of defamation. Often, this is a tactic to silence more women and victims from speaking out by men who enjoy power to maintain their public standing.”

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  1. S
    sad state
    Oct 28, 2017 at 12:37 am
    No affidavits, no sworn testimonies, no evidence, no disclosure regarding methods, no disclosure regarding accusers, no disclosure regarding the act itself.... and people's names and careers destroyed, from a distance, based on emails and chats. Is this feminism? As for the accused - 100 innocent until proven guilty.
    1. S
      Oct 27, 2017 at 10:41 am
      Social media is being used to level unsubstantiated claims of harassment. Innocent individuals are being clubbed with known convicts to make the list look genuine. It undermines the real fight for justice for women who suffer harassment.
      1. C
        Oct 27, 2017 at 10:11 am
        The FB campaign trivializes the issue of se xual harassment. It is a grave offence and so the charge against anyone is also a grave charge. Grave charges need sufficient basis and evidences. When such basis and evidences are not sought, anybody with a bias against anyone can put any names. And please note that Academic circle has its own share of politics - based on Ideological divides, compe ion among peers, getting a book published, getting in the good books of powerful people (HOD, Dean, organisers).
        1. M
          Oct 27, 2017 at 7:09 am
          Sexual Harassment, wherever it takes place, must be suppressed through a) Internal Disciplinary Processes and ultimately, b) Prosecution under Indian Penal Code. BUT what this ABCD [ American Born Confused Desi ] Ms. Sarkar has done, amounts to DEVALUATION of both "Due Process" and chances of taking effective steps to PUNISH the offenders. It is the same as Indian Express' Columnists and Reporters abusing Modi, BJP-RSS for every act of violence in any part of India, even in Kerala and Karnataka where the Communists and CONS are ruling. FALSE charges, FALSE shouting DEVALUE genuine charges and genuine shouting, as taught by the Pancha Tanthra Story of the mischievous village boy falsely shouting "Tiger, Tiger".. when a Tiger did turn up, none came to save the boy from the tiger.
          1. musafir musafir
            Oct 27, 2017 at 8:26 am
            Your political agenda and your bhakti towards your fake God in the guise of devil became obvious in the last paragraph. It shows how seriously you take the issue of sexual harassment when you use it to whine about negative coverage of Modi when in reality the coverage is fawning in a sickening way with majority of television channels literally worshiping the ground he walks on. (Democracy, anyone?). Due process in India? Who are we kidding? If anything like this existed, a certain person would never be PM. People would be punished for the Sikh Riots or the Bhopal gas disaster - which are biggest crimes of this century. Arushi's parents woudn't be rotting in jail after their daughter is murdered. Dalits would get justice after being tortured by other castes.
            1. A
              Oct 27, 2017 at 10:09 am
              Here speaks a Jihadi or a dynasty stooge when you mention "fake God" of infidels..
              1. M
                Oct 27, 2017 at 11:09 am
                Amber Bhai, Shows you how shameless these "Converted Cousins" over the border are... They are murdering Shias, Suffis, Ismailis, Christains, Hindus and Sikhs on a monthly basis. This fellow turns up here to lecture us on Sikh riots. They ethnically cleansed their "Pure land" of Sikhs, here he is speaking like a Saint.