Alleging sexual harassment at workplace by a senior colleague, a woman scientist of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has slapped a legal notice on its management for alleged inaction on her complaint.
The 28-year-old scientist, according to her legal notice, complained to the ICRISAT governing body in January last but reportedly agreed not to pursue the case if her colleague tendered an unqualified public apology.
In the notice, she pointed out that she and the person responsible for her trauma continue to work in the same department despite specific rules which make it mandatory for the complainant and the accused to be separated in the workplace. Further, she said ICRISAT management had failed to take appropriate action to prevent further victimisation by the accused. The ICRISAT management, on its part, issued a statement asserting that appropriate action was taken. “The person concerned has apologized to the complainant and the apology was accepted by the complainant. On further request by the complainant to reopen the case, the governing board readily agreed and this was conveyed to her,” it said. It further clarified “the governing board and the management do not tolerate any form of harassment of staff members and appropriate internal policies and procedures are in place to address this.” N J Poole, chairman of the governing board of ICRISAT, in reply to her notice, said the accused had tendered an apology which was accepted by her and the issue was resolved at that time and the case closed.
“Insofar as failure to prevent further harassment and alleged victimisation issue is concerned, your client did not seek transfer from the unit and in fact, she was not immediately answerable to (the accused) per se,” the ICRISAT reply said.
The victim, however, contended that an “oral apology before three people in a closed door meeting is not an adequate response to acts of sexual harassment committed by the accused openly.”
K Vivek Reddy, who is representing the victim, turned the tables on ICRISAT, citing the apex court judgment that the complaints committee should be headed by a woman.
Teacher molests 11 minor girls
The Nalgonda police on Friday booked a teacher for allegedly sexually harassing at least 11 students at a school run by an NGO at Enamithanda in Peddhavoora mandal. The students had complained against the teacher to the principal but the latter allegedly didn’t act on the same. The issue finally came to light on Friday and the police immediately swung into action but the teacher remains at large.