Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has written a letter to Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore over reports of women working as casual announcers in All India Radio (AIR) being allegedly sexually harassed.
Seeking an inquiry into the matter, Maneka Gandhi asked Rathore to probe into the matter and ensure that a sensitive and fair system is put in place to address any such grievances in the National Broadcaster office:
"I am enclosing a copy of a news item where it has been reported that women working as casual announcers in All India Radio are being sexually harassed. The news item indicates that this problem (exists) at different stations of AIR. The details of the complaints are such that I am compelled to refer them to you for an inquiry," she said in the letter.
The Union Minister went onto state that a responsible organisation must provide justice to each and every woman if she complains of sexual harassment in the institute:
"I would like to submit that the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act is equally applicable to a woman employee irrespective of her being a permanent, temporary or casual employee. Some of these women had complained to the appropriate authorities but no action seems to have been taken. I understand that an organisation would have a natural tendency to dismiss a casual woman employee the moment she reports sexual harassment. But this is not good," the minister added.
Several complaints of alleged sexual harassment from different AIR stations have come to light in the wake of the recent #MeToo revolution that took India by storm. According to reports, while the AIR employee union received multiple complaints of sexual harassment, in many cases the accused was let off with only a warning and the complainants were asked to quit their job.
Earlier in October, the Ministry of Women & Child Development declared that it will be setting up a committee of senior judicial and legal persons as members to examine all issues emanating from the #MeToo India movement. The committee was put together to look into the legal and institutional framework which is in place for handling complaints of sexual harassment at work.
“I believe in the pain and trauma behind every single complaint,” said Union Minister Maneka Gandhi while asserting that sexual harassment must be dealt with a policy of zero tolerance.
(With ANI inputs)