People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 42

October 20, 2013




SFI Demands Justice for Pavitra


ON October 15, Delhi unit of the Students Federation of India (SFI) organised a protest action demanding justice for Pavitra, the lab attendant of B R Ambedkar College, who immolated herself after getting no response on the complaints of sexual harassment she had filed against her principal, G K Arora.


The protest by SFI was organised around three central demands, viz, immediate removal and arrest of the college principal G K Arora, judicial inquiry into the case, and regular elections to anti-sexual harassment committees in all colleges of Delhi University.


On the day, about 100 students collected at the Arts Faculty building in Delhi University around 11 am, after which the rally moved through various colleges, culminating in a rally at the Vivekanda Statue inside the Arts Faculty. It is baffling to think that though Pavitra had filed about 150 complaints against Arora at various levels and had been doing so since 2009, there was no inquiry into the matter. This incident and many before this have shown the urgent need to take up cases of sexual harassment seriously, which the University and its administration have failed to do at any point in time. In fact, the SFI said, the autocratic nature of the administration is visible from the fact that after Arora’s suspension two teachers of Hindu College were arbitrarily suspended --- in a clear attempt to show to the protesting teachers and students where the power lies, and thereby to silence their voices. The SFI said it has becomes all the more necessary, therefore, to intensify struggle against sexual harassment and against those who fail to take up such cases seriously.