Let us stand in Solidarity with the complainant, in her struggle for Gender Justice against the sexual harasser Ashish Raghuwanshi!
Condemn the unpardonable negligence, insensitivity and collective vitiation of space by AISF leadership!
A recent incident of gendered oppression came to light when one of the prominent activists of JNU came out with an open letter against AISF’s state convener of Madhya Pradesh, Ashish Raghuwanshi. The complainant has put forth charges of sexual abuse, mental torture, breach of trust and monetary fraudulance against Ashish Raghuwanshi. At the same time, she also come out with charges of brahmanical, feudal and gender insensitive behaviour against the prominent leadership of AISF who not only institutionally side lined this matter, when she complained two months ago, with empty promises, but also tried to delegitimize her demands by maligning her character, when the matter came into public. DSU condemns this prolonged gendered oppression of the complainant by Ashish Raghuwanshi and the leadership of AISF in the strongest possible words.
Gender insensitivity and subsequent gender oppression through character assassination and space vitiation is common practice in this society to suppress the voice of the complainant. In this specific incident we can see several layers of harassment. A harassment which started by one of the leaders of AISF in an intimate space, is only being extended and institutionalized by the prominent leadership of this so called “communist progressive organization” when justice was delayed and thus denied.
Sexual harassment or any other kind of harassment is condemned more emphatically and enthusiastically when it happens between two non-related persons. But in case of violence and harassment in a relationship, some kind of ambiguity is created to even normalize this kind of acts. Some of the comments made by the leadership of AISF, as quoted in the complainant’s letter, manifests the inherent feudal & patriarchal anxiety when such normalcy and ambiguity are challenged.
In her letter, the complainant has also pointed out how some of these leadership are also back patting themselves by saying that they suggested her to go to the police from the beginning. We cannot forget the fact that our primary responsibility towards a complainant is to provide her the comfortable space where she can file a complaint.
Suggestions like filing a case with police or GSCASH or similar bodies are very appreciable. But when a complainant is stating certain reasons for not taking up such things with police then one also has to accept her agency to decide. Most of the women in this patriarchal society cannot even raise their voice against harassment done on them or cannot muster enough courage to go to the police or law court in the fear of slandering, family and social pressure.
The complainant had complained about the incident trusting a ‘communist’ organization and expecting justice from them. But it is very unfortunate that instead of ensuring justice to her, the insensitivity and negligence of the leadership of AISF forced the complainant to bring out a public position and go to of state’s law and order system, which can instigate another prolonged process of harassment in courts and police stations.
From DSU, we salute the spirit and struggle of the complainant who courageously and strongly came out in the public domain against such gender oppression demanding justice for herself. We extend our strong solidarity to the complainant and we stand by all her demands. The AISF leadership should address the issues raised by her immediately with no further delay.
Democratic Students’ Union (DSU) will always be firmly standing with the complainant.