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Row over Facebook post naming 60 academics as ‘sexual harassers’

The Facebook post includes names of 12 people from Jadavpur University, 10 associated with Delhi University, five from Ambedkar University Delhi, and two from Jawaharlal Nehru University.

delhi Updated: Oct 27, 2017 00:34 IST
A Mariyam Alavi
A Mariyam Alavi
HIndustan Times
delhi news,facebook post
The Facebook post includes names of 12 people from Jadavpur University, 10 associated with Delhi University, five from Ambedkar University Delhi, and two from Jawaharlal Nehru University.

A Facebook post “naming and shaming” academics who have allegedly exhibited “sexually predatory behaviour” has names of the 60 teachers in several universities in the country. However, a group of social activists, and academics have asked “those who are behind this initiative” to withdraw it.

The social activists appealed to those who posted the names on Facebook that “if they wish to pursue complaints, they should follow due process, and be assured that they will be supported by the larger feminist community in their fight for justice”.

The Facebook post includes names of 12 people from Jadavpur University, 10 associated with Delhi University, five from Ambedkar University Delhi, and two from Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The post started with the names of two faculty members allegedly from Jadavpur University, and the author then urged others that “if any one knows of academics who have sexually harassed/were sexually predatory to them or have seen it first hand PM me and I’ll add them to the list”.

However, many, including academics named and shamed in the post, have questioned the validity of the claims being made.

A faculty member named in the list told HT how he had been devastated by the news. “I’m scared to even talk about this. I don’t understand why this has happened. My family is in a crisis. I am completely shattered. I will need time to recover from this, if at all I can,” the teacher said.

Others, like an assistant professor whose name was also on the list, were more upset. “How can you defame somebody without proof? People can make whatever claims they want. I did have a sexual harassment charge levelled against me 4-5 years ago, but I was acquitted as the investigating authorities found the allegations to be baseless... I am sure somebody will soon file a defamation case regarding this,” the assistant professor said.

A group of 14 women, including activist Kavita Krishnan, lawyer Vrinda Grover, JNU faculty such as Nivedita Menon, Ayesha Kidwai, Janaki Nair, DU teacher Janaki Abraham and Sabeena Gadihoke from Jamia Millia Islamia, have also expressed doubts about the way the names have been published with no “due process”.

“We are dismayed by the initiative on Facebook, in which men are being listed and named as sexual harassers with no context or explanation. One or two names of men who have been already found guilty of sexual harassment by due process, are placed on par with unsubstantiated accusations. It worries us that anybody can be named anonymously, with lack of answerability,” reads a statement released by them, which also urges the author to stop the campaign.

First Published: Oct 27, 2017 00:34 IST