Garkoti Committee Report on GSCASH Rules is tampered: Prof. K.B. Usha’s membership and opinions not recorded!

The minutes of the Garkoti Committee that are to be presented to the Jawaharlal Nehru University Executive Council on Monday, the 18th are as below:

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The JNUTA in its release yesterday rued the absence of any person with requisite expertise and experience on this Committee. It has now been revealed that in fact the original Office Order, constituting the Committee, a former Chairperson of GSCASH, Prof. K.B. Usha, was listed as a member of the Committee.

Not only did Prof. K.B. Usha accept the membership of the Garkoti Committee, she also participated actively in its proceedings, and made oral and written submissions to it. Dismayed at the negative and fundamentally gender-insensitive reception that her comments at the Committee meetings received (a member even confessed that he had never heard of the word/concept of ‘patriarchy!) , on 1 September 2017, she made a written submission outlining her understanding of what this Committee should do. This letter can be found here. Her comments were once again utterly disregarded and when a draft of the report was prepared without incorporating even one of her suggestions, she again wrote a letter of objection on September 1 2017, which can be found here. She thereafter resigned from the Committee.

The JNUTA demands an explanation as to why none of Prof. Usha’s letters have been provided to the Executive Council, and indeed her membership and her participation has been erased from the Committee’s records? Is the presentation of falsified and incomplete records to the Executive Council to become the norm in the university, for this is the second time that such misrepresentation has happened, cf. in the false charges against Centre for the Study of Social Systems in the 268th EC meeting? Is all dissent or difference of opinion, be it on Selection Committees or others, to be suppressed and erased in this fashion, based on a warped logic of majoritarianism, by which only those who are ‘with us’ are allowed to exist? The JNUTA appeals to all EC members to take the University Registrar and the Chairperson of this Committee to task for this complete elision of the opinions, dissent, and resignation of Prof. K.B. Usha.

Who’s afraid of Prof. K.B. Usha (and what she has to say)?

The short answer to this is: the JNU administration whose sole raison d’etre is the destruction of this university and all the unique experiments in justice and redressal it has attempted and nurtured. The JNUTA, and indeed the whole JNU community, can well understand how dangerous even her lone opinion to the administration’s Destroy GSCASH mission, because as an ex-Chairperson of GSCASH, Prof. K.B. Usha’s interventions are from a position of credibility and integrity that is not one other person in the Committee shares. But even further damaging would be the content of what she actually said, upholding the best traditions of JNU and the GSCASH. Perhaps the most dangerous was this: “It should be noted that a UGC letter D.O.No.F.91 -3/201 4(GS) dated 6 June 2017 requests the universities and colleges “to constitute an Internal Complaint Committee (lCC) and a Special Cell in their respective institutions to deal with the issues of gender based violence and to conduct gender sensitization programme.” This letter is clear that there should be two bodies, ICC and Gender Sensitization Committee. Therefore “the Rules and Procedures of the Gender Sensitisation Committee against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH)” may be renamed as “the Rules and Procedures of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) and the Gender Sensitisation Committee against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH)”. This format will be more effective to achieve the goals of Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal. Therefore, in the case of JNU reconstitution of ICC with a drastic change is not required, but a renaming with minor modifications in certain provisions may suffice.”

Prof. K.B. Usha’s suggestion is valid and one that many would endorse, but the JNUTA holds that even a decision on this has to be made by the GSCASH. It requests the JNU Executive Council to refer this entire agenda item to the GSCASH, which is the only body with the requisite expertise, experience, representativeness and trustworthiness to make any decision regarding its Rules. The JNUTA appeals to all JNU faculty, so many of whom have been intimately involved in nurturing and shaping this institution — often at the expense of their home life, leisure, and research — to communicate their opinions to the members of the JNU Executive Council, particularly the Dean’s and Chairs.

Ayesha Kidwai      Pradeep Shinde

President               General Secretary

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