Work came to a standstill at the office of the director of higher education in Pune on Monday after employees stopped work to protest the director’s alleged mistreatment of a woman staffer last week.
The woman also complained about the “workplace harassment’ to state Higher Education Minister Uday Samant, alleging that Dhanraj Mane ― who is the director of higher education, Maharashtra ― had verbally abused her in a public place, causing her mental trauma.
According to the woman’s complaint, Mane is often rude and high-handed towards women employees and staffers.
“At 1.30 pm on November 29, I had approached his office to get some urgent papers signed, but when I saw that he was leaving in a hurry, I turned back. He saw me turning back and called me over by yelling and gesturing in a very rude manner. He then used derogatory language to indicate that I can’t do my job properly. The entire incident took place in a public place, with several people watching me get humiliated. I felt so ashamed that I started shivering and fell sick,” the woman stated in her complaint.
According to members of three staffers’ unions, which had called for a complete boycott of work on Monday, the woman employee, who had undergone a major surgery a couple of years ago, had to be admitted to a hospital under observation on Monday.
Demanding that action be taken against the director for his alleged behaviour towards women staffers, the staff at the department refused to work until their demands were met. While work remained suspended on Monday, the employees have threatened to continue the agitation till a resolution is reached.
Mane, meanwhile, said that he was aware of the protests but wasn’t in office. “I was out of town till Monday afternoon and once I reached Pune, I asked them to come meet me for a discussion, but they refused. There is some miscommunication… there was no disrespect to anyone,” he said.
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