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Panel submits report to curb gender-based violence in JNU

Committee was formed after brutal attack

Written by Naveed Iqbal | New Delhi |
September 24, 2013 12:20:10 am

A 10-member committee,formed after a student of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) attacked his classmate,submitted its reported on Monday,recommending several measures to help make the university campus more gender-inclusive.

On July 31,a student attacked his classmate with an axe,leaving her seriously injured,and then killed himself by consuming poison and slitting his own throat. The committee was then formed by Vice-Chancellor S K Sopory to help sensitise students on issues of gender and make the campus more inclusive.

The committee recommended setting up an independent Counselling Centre,consisting of faculty members and outside experts,along with a dedicated helpline that could connect students to people trained in counselling and crisis intervention.

The committee also suggested the development of “standard security operating procedures”,increase in the number of women security guards,training of security personnel on gender sensitisation,checking of identity cards and quick response in the event of dispute.

Other measures suggested to curb gender-based violence and discrimination on campus included strengthening student-faculty committees,organisation of “orientation programmes” sensitising students on issues of gender relationships.

Speaking to Newsline,Sopory said,“We do not want these recommendations only on paper. Four committees have been set up to prepare action plans for their implementation. However,we have not defined a time frame yet.”

The committee also recommended improving and strengthening the working of the existing Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) — a demand made by all the organisations that participated in the recently concluded JNU students’ union elections. However,the report did not address the issue of GSCASH recommendations being made binding and their inquiries being time-bound.

Member have also suggested framing guidelines for “harmonious relations between the students and supervisor(s).”

Another long-term demand made by the students — designing special course on gender,class,caste,region,religion,ethnicity and disability — has been addressed by the committee.

The vice-chancellor also said the course on gender sensitisation will not require UGC approval as it will be an internal course and the recruitment of women security guards will not bring any extra monetary burden to the university.

Newly elected students’ union president Akbar Chawdhury said before finalising the recommendations,the administration should speak to the JNUSU and the GSCASH. “The recommendations are broadly progressive and we welcome them. However,there is a need to be proactive rather than reactive in such matters.”

He also expressed his apprehension regarding installation of CCTVs and hostel searches in the name of security.

Road to gender-inclusion

* Setting up an independent Counselling Centre

* Dedicated help line with trained counsellors

* Increase in women security guards

* Training security personnel on gender sensitisation

* Checking identity cards

* Introduction of internal course on gender issues

* Strengthening student-faculty committees

* Organising “orientation programmes” to sensitise students on issues of gender relationships

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