September 3, 2014 9:13:37 am
By: Tashi Tobgyal
Election season is back at Jawaharlal Nehru University with new faces and, mostly, the same issues. But, a small addition has been made to the nomination form this year — the third gender option denoted by the letter ‘O’ on the form. As candidates filed nominations for the students’ union polls on Tuesday, a volunteer intently scanned the form and assumed it was a typographical error.
“Starting this year, the third gender has been integrated into the nomination form and we will try for its inclusion on all other forms on the campus,” Dilip Kumar Maurya, chairperson of the JNUSU election committee, said. A decision affirming this was taken a week ago in response to a letter written to the EC by the Gender Sensitisation Committee against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) on the campus.
“Last week, we wrote to the election committee, with regard to the inclusion of the third gender in the nomination forms, post which the EC held a committee meeting and agreed to the suggestion,” Sonam Goyal, one of the two current elected committee members of GSCASH, said.
“With the Supreme Court legislation on the LGBT community, such an arrangement was necessary to start on campus and, hence, with the help of the election committee, we have been able to bring about this progressive change without any opposition whatsoever,” she said.
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The third gender on the form covers all other genders, other than the first two. In the last elections, a candidate from LGBT category had contested from SFI. All students’ organisations are gearing up for the elections and are raising the pitch for various critical issues on the campus. All India Students’ Association (AISA), arguably the most popular students’ organisation on the campus, has been pushing for reduction of weightage for viva-voce examinations to reduce bias.
“AISA has taken up the issue in and outside the campus and the matter is currently in the Supreme Court,” AISA’s national president and former president of JNUSU Sucheta De said. AISA’s principal opposition, the Democratic Students’ Federation — the SFI’s breakaway faction, has joined forces with former SFI partners All India Students’ Federation and the Students for Social Justice. The organisations seek to counter the AISA-led union over its alleged lack of action on key campus issues.
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