Sexual harassment allegations against the leaders of the SFI Units of Delhi University, EFLU Hyderabad and Pondicherry University resulted in the release of statements by SFI Units in support of the survivors and the termination of the positions of the accused leaders.
On 12 April 2023, the Student’s Federation of India Pondicherry Unit (SFI-PU) released a statement condemning the actions of Ananthapadmanabhan and suspending him from the post of Unit President. The statement was released in light of the sexual harassment complaints by students on social media against three prominent leaders of the SFI at Delhi University (DU), English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) Hyderabad and Pondicherry University.
“The complaints were looked at with utmost seriousness by the Unit and immediately an enquiry committee was constituted to look into the issue. In the preliminary enquiry itself, it was found that the allegations were credible and that he was engaged in anti-organizational activities. Further, the explanation given by him was found to be unsatisfactory. Further enquiry also proved that Ananthapadmanabhan was found to be guilty of behaviour that is clearly against the organization’s values. Therefore the enquiry committee recommended severe action against Ananthapadmanabhan. Accepting the recommendations of the enquiry committee, SFI has decided to expel him from all the posts and responsibilities that he had been holding,” -read the statement.
A student and SFI employee claimed that Sidharth Selvaraj, the former SFI EFLU Hyderabad Unit Committee secretary, has sexually harassed her. On 14 April 2023, the SFI unit released a statement that they had taken action against Sidharth Selvaraj and terminated him from both the position of Unit Secretary and the Unit Committee.
“This is to officially state the action that the SFI EFLU Unit Committee has taken against Sidharth, the former Unit Secretary, upon receiving a complaint of sexually inappropriate behaviour, from a student of the university. Taking the survivor’s complaint as a prima facie information, Sidharth is made to resign from the Unit Committee as well as from the post of Unit Secretary, – read the statement.
The former Unit President and Secretariat member of SFI Hindu College, Abhiram N.R., has also been accused of sexual harassment. The complaint was filed by an 18-year student who was an active member of the same organisation. The student claimed that when she reached out to SFI leaders of Hindu College to file a complaint against Abhiram N.R., she was ridiculed and insulted by the leaders, including on social media platforms.
“I also had to face personal attacks in virtual spaces like public WhatsApp groups. Noel Benny (Ex-Zamir Hussain student), also the Vice President of SFI Delhi, was questioned by political identity as a person associated with SFI in a public WhatsApp group. Aswin Mohandas (Rajadhani College), who is a strong SFI member put messages on a WhatsApp group questioning my dignity. Rana Reslan (Kirori Mal College) circulated the screenshots of a message that I have sent in a very personal WhatsApp group,” -the survivor released in an Instagram post.
On 15 April 2023, the SFI Delhi Committee issued a statement supporting the survivor and condemned any behaviour dismissing the survivor’s experience.
“Since the release of the call-out post, the survivor has faced several measures and calls questioning their experience which is deeply traumatising. SFI stands strongly in support of the survivor and their brave fight against mental and sexual abuse,” -read the statement.
SFI Hindu College has also released a statement in solidarity with the survivor and has suspended the convenor of SFI Hindu College on marks of mental and sexual harassment. However, news releases have reported that the accused later returned to SFI Hindu College, a failure in the administration of the SFI Unit of Hindu College.
Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives
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