JNUSU members demand restoration of GSCASH
NEW DELHI: Members of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union on Friday staged a protest at the University Grants Commission's office, demanding its intervention to restore the varsity's disbanded sexual harassment watchdog –GSCASH.
They also demanded that similar autonomous bodies should be set up in all universities.
JNU's GSCASH was so effective that the students wanted similar bodies in all universities, JNUSU president Geeta Kumari said in a letter to the UGC.
Women rights activists belonging to different organisations, including the CPI-affiliated National Federation of Indian Women, joined the students in their protest.
A large number of police personnel along with a water canon vehicle was deployed for crowd control.
Last month, the JNU administration had replaced Gender Sensitisation Committee against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) with Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) attributing its move to the UGC's regulations.
Ever since, the administration's move was implemented, the JNUSU has been spearheading an agitation aiming to reinstate the autonomous body.
A JNU student said that all such voices coming out of our campuses are not only being severely ignored, but dealt with crackdown from the university administrations.
As students of BHU faced brutal lathi-charge and booked for raising voice, the JNU students who conducted and contested the GSCASH elections, were served notices
"At such a juncture, we feel it is the need of the time to come together and make an effective intervention to hold the UGC and MHRD accountable in making our campus spaces secure, free and non-discriminatory for women students," she added.
The JNUSU president said, "The question of discriminatory rules for women have been raised by women students on campuses all over India, including Central and State Universities and colleges as well as private institutions. Discriminatory curfew timing for women's hostels, unequal access to campus spaces including library and late hour classes, sexist dress codes and disciplinary norms exist in almost all campuses of the country."
She further added that it is high time the demands for ending these discriminatory rules are addressed.
Here too, the 'SAKSHAM Report' very clearly "stressed that locking the women up was not the answer; the custodial responsibility was to make university spaces safe enough for them to live with a sense of freedom and equality," and "concern for the safety of all women, but
particularly young women students should not lead to discriminatory rules for women in the hostels."