New Delhi: Facing criticism after the highest number of sexual harassment cases were reported from there, the Jawaharlal Nehru University has directed its students and faculty to refrain from "publicising" such incidents and maintain strict "confidentiality".
A group of JNU teachers had also recently criticised the varsity's Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH), alleging its processes were "perverted" and confidentiality with regard to complaints was being "blatantly violated" leading to "defaming" the complainants and putting their integrity on "public trial".
"The entire JNU community is requested to uphold the principles of gender justice, which includes maintaining strict confidentiality about GSCASH cases. The committee actively tries to counter any attempt to create a hostile environment which includes instilling an atmosphere of fear and silence," the varsity said in an official communication.
"Making public the confidential and personal details of any case or individuals adds in creating a hostile environment rather than containing it. This kind of irresponsible behaviour on part of any member or group on campus to further narrow political gains is not appreciated," it added.
The communication further said, "such acts tantamount to grave violation of privacy of those who have entrusted faith in GSCASH. Any such incident should be reported to GSCASH instead of publicising. This will further aggravate and amplify the sufferings of the concerned and will have a detrimental effect on mental peace and tranquility".
Only last week, Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, quoting data from the University Grants Commission, had informed the Lok Sabha that 25 cases of sexual harassment were reported from JNU in 2013-2014, the highest among 104 higher education institutions from where such matters had been reported.
Last month, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal had also said that as much as 50 per cent of the 101 sexual harassment complaints filed in 16 educational institutions in the national capital since 2013 were from JNU.
Taking note of the criticism, JNU had notified a new sexual harassment policy which also included a penalty provision for false complaints filed before the probe panel.
It had also last week sacked an assistant professor whom GSCASH had found guilty of sexually abusing a foreign scholar researching under him.
GSCASH was instituted by the university in 1999 under the Vishakha guidelines of the Supreme Court.
The panel has representatives from JNU Students Union (JNUSU), JNU Officers' Association (JNUOA), hostel wardens, faculty and administrative staff.