Punjab Congress leader claims SMSes cannot be considered sexual harassment; Opposition slams her
Shameful that a woman is belittling a fellow woman on the orders of Rahul Gandhi with a mind-boggling statement that text messages did not constitute sexual harassment, said Sukhbir Badal.
CHANDIGARH: Giving a new twist to the controversy surrounding Punjab Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi who allegedly sent "inappropriate text messages'' to a female IAS officer, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary and in-charge of Punjab Congress Affairs Asha Kumari said that text messages cannot be considered as sexual harassment, as sexual harassment is different from them.
Kumari said the party had not received any complaint against Channi. “I don't know from where you got all this?” she said.
When reminded that Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, had confirmed the incident, she said the issue was now over.
“This matter was between the Chief Minister and the Minister and it has been resolved. Both have given statements and the matter is finished,'' she said.
Meanwhile Channi said the message was sent inadvertently. “A non-issue is being blown out of proportion for political reasons,” he said.
The Istri Akali Dal, women's wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal, on Thursday held a protest in front of the chief minister's residence over the alleged sexual harassment of the IAS officer.
Sources said till date the officer had not given any written complaint against the minister. Amarinder without naming the minister had said that the latter had apologised and the matter had been sorted out to the officer's satisfaction.
This is first such complaint about any minister in the state and that too at a time when a strong movement has been triggered in the country on the issue of women's rights and against harassment at work places.
Kumari's remark drew sharp criticism from opposition Shiromani Akali Dal, which charged that Congress president Rahul Gandhi had assigned Kumari to cover up the misdeeds of Technical Education minister Charanjit Singh Channi.
SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal expressed shock over the remark.
"It is shameful that a woman is belittling a fellow woman on the orders of Rahul Gandhi with a mind-boggling statement that text messages did not constitute sexual harassment," he said in a statement.
(With inputs from PTI)