By Archana Rao
The Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) elections in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) are scheduled to be held in April. Meanwhile, the current GSCASH committee has sent a draft to the university administration to bring certain changes in the body.
The 15-member committee is looking at increasing the number of members in GSCASH and also pushing to raise the number of students’ representatives up to four. At present, GSCASH has two students’ representatives.
Stating reasons for this, Democratic Student’s Federation member Sonal Goyal, also a student representative in GSCASH, said, “When GSCASH was constituted, there were hardly 2,000-3,000 students on campus. But the number has now increased to 8,000-9,000. We need a bigger committee to deal with the number of cases.”
Goyal, who was elected last year, hopes that the draft will be accepted before the elections takes place in April. “If the administration does not approve the draft before the elections, then it will be contested only on two posts,” she added.
Students Federation of India member Aparna Mahiyaria, also part of GSCASH, said, “The body is not just about acting on sexual harassment complaints, it also has to do gender sensitisation. We are working here for the general welfare of the JNU community.”
She said that GSCASH elections usually take place during the first Friday of April. “However, since it Good Friday falls on April 3, elections may be postponed,” she said.
The committee comprises two elected students members out of which at least one female student representative is mandatory. The other members include an NGO representative, faculty members, a JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) member amongst others. GSCASH functions as an autonomous body on the campus.
JNUSU president Anant Prakash Narayan said his party (All India Students’ Association) still has not declared any candidates as they are waiting for the announcement of the election date.
“This elections, we will be bringing different agendas such as gender justice and gender module. GSCASH needs more teeth. We are not sure if the students representatives will increase before the elections,” he said.
(The reporter is a student of EXIMS)