Gorkha student from JNU protest against molestation

New Delhi 2nd Oct

Gorkha Students from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi organised a protest demonstration against the continued denial of gender justice. Even one year after the heinous incident of repeated sexual harassment, justice is yet to be delivered to a B.A. first year female student from Darjeeling, who had just enrolled in Kala Bhawan,Visva-Bharati University. All the three perpetrators who are students from the same university, had been arrested for a short period but have been released on bail and are now attending regular classes. The fourth perpetrator who is an outsider is yet to be arrested.
The protest demonstration was conducted by Bijay Thapa a member of the Gorkha Students, JNU who began with an introduction about the incident. In this regard, the major demand of protest demonstration was the immediate arrest of the perpetrators and their rustication from the university and also demanded strict action against the members of the faculty and administration of Visva-Bharati, involved in shielding the accused. A strong demand was also raised to make the University bear all medical and legal expenses of the complainant.
It was followed by a speech from Dawa Sherpa another member of Gorkha Students. He strongly condemned the indifferent and callous manner in which the issue is being handled by the University administration and by the government of Sikkim and West Bengal. He pointed out how the University added insult to injury by offering the girl’s father money to buy clothes for his daughter just because she had been stripped. Dawa strongly underscored how this incident speaks not only of violation of gender justice but also of racial discrimination meted out to citizens of particular ethnicities. He also asked leaders from GTA and Sikkim to break their long silence on this issue. lastly, he ended by saying that this kind of oppression will only strengthen our resolve to fight for a just and democratic Gorkhaland.
The JNUSU President, Kanhaiya congratulated the Gorkha Students for continuing the struggle and demand for justice which had been started a year back in the same platform. He stated that this anger and outrage against patriarchal mindset which lies at the core of gender injustice must be continued the strongest fervour.
The Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) representative saluted the complainants courage for fighting her own battle. He emphasised the need for upholding the importance of grievance redressal cells and bodies such as GSCASH in all educational institutions.
Gorkha Youth and Students’ Association (GYASA) representative Dinesh strongly condemned the injustice and extended solidarity with the girl and expressed their continued support in this struggle.
All India Student’s Association (AISA) representative argued for the implementation of the Verma Committee and rejection of the UGC guidelines that promotes protectionist tendencies and moral policing in the campus. Both AISA and ‘Hundred Flowers’ representatives spoke about the need for resisting the patriarchial mindset under which such atrocities against women are tolerated.
Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA) representative highlighted the dominance of Brahmanical structure of society under which Dalits, minorities and weaker sections of the society were always oppressed and connected the incident to it.
Students’ organisation, ‘Collective’ also reiterated the same argument and emphasised on the need for a combined struggle.
Democratic Students’ Federation representative also pointed out that such form of discrimination was not a single incident but was also witnessed in the case of selection of candidates in the College Service Commission.
Democratic Student’s Union also condemned the incident in the strongest possible words and argued that justice delayed is justice denied. She expressed how this type of gender violence is mostly targeted towards minorities, dalits, adivasis and other oppressed sections and they should come together to struggle against such oppression.
 Students Federation of India (SFI) also expressed their solidarity with the struggle and condemned the incident.
Nirvan, a student from Darjeeling highlighted other such issues that are prevalent in the hills since the British rule.
The final remark was made by Manoj from Gorkha Students, JNU. He highlighted the fact that such incidents only raise outrage when the complainant belongs to the dominant communities. Only such cases are able to grasp mass attention and mobilise popular movements such as the ‘Hokkolorob’ West Bengal. Whereas, similar or even ghastly incidents experienced by ethnic minorities goes unnoticed. In the backdrop of such gross injustices, he thus questioned how the celebrated lines of the Great Poet Guru Rabindranath Tagore ‘where the mind is without fear and the head is held high...’ can ever be upheld.
The protest demonstration ended with the effigy burning of the four sexual harrassers, the Vice Chancellor, Rector, Proctor and Principal of Kala Bhawan of Visva- Bharati University and the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamta Banerjee.
On the same day, simultaneous protests were also held by the students of North Bengal University, Sikkim University and Jadavpur University. Over hundred students participated in a rally in North Bengal University. A candle light vigil was organised in Sikkim University. A silent rally was taken out in Jadavpur University in solidarity with the girl.

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