Women rights group demand action in alleged Bangalore sexual harassment case
Women rights group staged protests in Bangalore on Thursday and demanded action against the chief administrative officer (CAO) of a prestigious management college after a lady doctor accused him of alleged sexual harassment.
The lady medical officer of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, has alleged that the chief administrative officer had been harassing her since 2009.
She had lodged a complaint against the accused in the Gender Sensitive Committee (GSC) of the college in 2011, but no action was taken on the complaint.
Member of Women Rights' Group, Vimochana, Dona Fernandes said: "This is a complaint of sexual harassment by (against) the Chief Administrative Officer of IIM-B (Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore) of (by) a medical officer. The lady doctor that was working here as a medical officer, she was subject to sexual harassment after she joined over here. Despite the fact that she made a verbal complaint, the harassment did not stop but it increased. She thought it would go away but it just increased. It was daily harassment that she faced, both work related and sexual harassment. He made sexual comments, sexual remarks, all kind of gestures, ogling, staring at her and subjecting her to lot of mental torture and mental harassment."
The Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill was passed by the lower house of parliament in September this year and aims to ensure a safe environment for women working in both the public and private sector.
The bill still has to be passed by the upper house of parliament, a move that is expected in the coming months.
Despite India's economic liberalisation which began more than two decades ago, bringing with it more progressive Western ideas of gender equality and women's empowerment, women continue to face a barrage of threats due to traditional patriarchal beliefs which see them as objects, women's rights activists say.
Newspapers on a daily basis recount stories of women being pulled off the streets and gang-raped in moving cars and molestation of women on public transport.
According to media reports, the lady medical officer was placed on probation for two years under the CAO and allegedly the CAO started making sexual advances towards her.
Fernandes demanded an immediate judicial enquiry.
"The demand is first that they have to give a copy of the enquiry report to the complainant, to the doctor; second, they have to action on the Gender Sensitivity Committee report to why they are dragging their feet over it; third the doctor should be reinstated and fourth we are asking for a judicial enquiry because there are other complaints of sexual harassment also, which have not come out in the open. So, there should be a judicial enquiry and if none of these demands are met, then we are going to take up this issue with the Human Resources Minister because this institute comes under the HR Ministry," said Fernandes.
However, the college administration is not available for comment.