The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Tuesday saw protests as Professor Atul Johri, accused by nine students of sexual harassment, allegedly visited the School of Life Sciences (SLS) where he teaches, and accessed the laboratory. The JNU Students’ Union cited a High Court order to argue that Johri was not allowed access to the lab.
In a statement, the college’s Student Faculty Committee (SFC) and its JNUSU councillor said, “Atul Johri today entered the School of Life Sciences and accessed his lab and office with two security guards. This shameless attitude of Johri and overprotective behaviour of JNU administration towards a sexual harasser is killing gender justice space in JNU.”
“This is another blatant violation of the High Court order of May 2018 by Johri, with the support of JNU administration and the school administration, to enter and violate the order which clearly states he cannot access room number 409 and the school area where complainants are working following the Vishaka Guidelines,” it added. The JNUSU also staged a protest outside the SLS building. “The newly appointed school Dean working as a pawn of the administration is providing impunity to a sexual harasser,” it said.
While Johri did not respond to queries, his lawyer Amit Anand Tiwari said, “The writ on which this order was given has been dismissed by the court. No interim order is operating as of now.” SFC member Preeti Umarao, however, said, “The last HC order, dated January 25 clearly states all interim orders given till May 3 last year, are still valid.”
JNU Registrar Pramod Kumar said he was unaware if Johri went to SLS but added, “ I have been told he has been acquitted in the case.”