JNU gender panel elections delayed due to sedition row

Sunday, Apr 17, 2016,11:33 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | The controversy over a sedition case against some JNU students which triggered a nationalism debate across the country not only affected the academic functioning of the university but has also delayed the election process at the politically active institution. JNU has Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH), a body which deals with complaints of sexual persecution.

It consists of two student-elected representatives, faculty members, office staff and representatives from the JNU Students’ Union, JNU Officers’ Association and JNU Staff Association. The election of the students’ representatives which is conducted in April every year will now be delayed by over five months in the wake of the recent turbulence on the campus.

The GSCASH elections are held in April every year and the process begins by February end. However, this time, due to the arrest of three students in a sedition case and the controversies that followed after that, the polls could not be held, JNU students union Vice President Shehla Rashid Shora said.

Exams are beginning next week which will be followed by summer break on campus so the GSCASH elections will have to be clubbed with the student union polls slated to be held in September, she added. The GSCASH polls used to coincide with the JNUSU polls earlier. However, in order to maintain the sanctity of the gender panel as a non-political body, it was decided three years ago to have the two polls separately.

Although the election is not contested on the basis of organisations or a candidate’s political ideology, unlike the JNU Students’ Union elections, most of the candidates are supported by organisations within the campus. GSCASH, which works as an autonomous body, was constituted in 1999. It has three major functions: gender sensitisation and orientation, crisis management and mediation, and formal enquiry and redressal.