BENGALURU: About 224 individuals from seven countries have signed a petition addressed to the top brass of IT major Infosys to revoke the coveted Infosys Prize, awarded to academic and legal luminary Lawrence Liang in November last year in the Social Sciences category. Liang was found guilty of sexually harassing a student by Ambedkar University, Delhi, in March this year.
The petition was posted on online publishing platform Medium by #Youtoo Petitions on May 8 by a Facebook group called 'Fingertip Feminism', a collaboration of feminists from different parts of the world. It was addressed to Infosys founder N R Narayana Murthy and Kaushik Basu, Jury Chair for the Infosys Prize in Social Sciences, among others.
The signatories, who claim to be survivors, feminists, social scientists, marginalised gender groups, and 'allies' from India, Australia, France, the US, Bangladesh, the UK and Spain, said in their petition, "What message does the Infosys Science Foundation want to send out? That even after sexually harassing and abusing women and being found guilty, you can still be showered with accolades?"
"We believe the foundation has no reason to delay the withdrawal of the prize or to actively dodge the issue by refusing to comment on his conviction," the petition said.
On being asked if the tech company would revoke the honour in light of this petition, Infosys Science Foundation General Manager Bhavna Mehra told The New Indian Express, "The trustees are waiting for the courts to decide on the matter as Liang has challenged Ambedkar University's internal committee probe in court. However, there has been no formal submission of the petition to the trustees by this group."
Lawrence Liang did not respond to calls and messages.
Members of Fingertip Feminism, who did not wish to be named, said, "Infosys cannot wait for courts to come to a decision because there is a verdict and that holds until courts decide to forgive him based on his plea. These are excuses that they give to enable and embolden powerful sexual predators. As far the law goes, AUD is supposed to implement recommendations of the internal committee irrespective of appeal process."