The Delhi Police have arrested professor Atul Johri of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) for allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by students, according to several media reports.
Delhi Police has arrested Professor Atul Johri of JNU after allegations of sexual harassment were leveled against him by students pic.twitter.com/wI8wj9K75d
" ANI (@ANI) March 20, 2018
File image of JNU professor Atul Johri. jnu.ac.in
"A notice has been issued to the professor to cooperate in the police investigation. He had failed to appear on Monday. We have summoned him today (Tuesday)," a senior police officer said before the professor was arrested and the questioning took place.
"We have recorded the statements of the complainants. A few more female students have approached the police and levelled similar allegations against Johri. It is being examined. Legal action will be initiated. The investigation is being closely monitored by Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Monika Bhardwaj," Joint Commissioner of Police Ajay Chaudhary said.
Dependra Pathak, Chief Spokesperson, Delhi Police said Johri was arrested after three hours of questioning at the Vasant Kunj police station.
The students have accused the police of shielding Johri from arrest. Some students told News18 that the professor has still not been suspended from his post at the university and it took the police over 72 hours to act.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) said in a statement on Monday, "The Delhi Police postponed the recording (of the statement) of Atul Johri till tomorrow. This (recording) could have been done today itself. We believe that the postponement was done to give him more time. Since an FIR has been registered, he should be interrogated in custody and not given time to protect himself. By giving him more time, the Delhi Police is actively protecting him."
Besides the students, JNU professors have also been demanding action against Johri. Women rights organisations including All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) and All India Mahila Sanskritik Sanghatan even held protests against Johri on Tuesday demanding the arrest of the professor.
Action against Johri was taken after clashes broke out between Delhi Police and JNU students in front of Vasant Kunj police station, where students were protesting against the professor on Monday. The protesting students blocked the highway, breached police barricades, and refused to attend classes until action is taken against the teacher.
According to News18, the police have pressed charges against Johri under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman). The report added that the sections under the Indian Penal Code are non-bailable offences with a punishment of over three years or above.
The Department of Life Sciences professor has been produced before a Delhi court. He was produced before duty magistrate Ritu Singh, where he moved a bail plea, saying sending him to jail would spoil his career.
With inputs from agencies