TERMING THE All India Radio (AIR) “a hub of sexual harassment”, National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Rekha Sharma has said that the Commission will constitute an inquiry team to look into the pervasive nature of sexual harassment in AIR stations across the country. The NCW has issued directives to the Prasar Bharati and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, asking them to submit a report on the issue as also on the “arbitrary termination” of the services of women employees who complained.
Referring to a letter received from the All India Radio Casual Announcers and Comperes Union (AIRCACU) in the matter, Sharma told The Indian Express: “After we got the letter, we realised that even before my time as the chairperson, there have been several complaints from the AIR casual employees to the NCW regarding sexual harassment at its stations. The NCW had enquired into some of the complaints and issued directives to the Prasar Bharati in the past but not much came of it. I will now constitute an inquiry committee to look into why this is happening in so many places (AIR stations).”
Sharma said the review of past cases and discussions with officials in the matter shows that the Air has been a “hub of sexual harassment at workplace”.
#MeToo in All India Radio: After Maneka Gandhi, National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma writes to I&B ministry & Prasar Bharati to report on action taken. NCW to conduct an inquiry on the sexual harassment complaints across AIR stationshttps://t.co/HuvcYUyy7G pic.twitter.com/lgTpConivN
— Shalini Nair (@ShaliniNair13) November 16, 2018
In a letter dated November 15, addressed to I & B Secretary Amit Khare, Sharma asked for Khare’s “personal intervention in the matter”, directing him to revert to the Commission with a status report within seven days. The NCW’s letter dated November 14 to Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Vempati states that the matter has already been brought to his attention by the workers’ union on October 28 and he should report to the NCW on action taken within 15 days.
Queries on the issue, sent by The Indian Express to both the I&B Ministry and Prasar Bharati CEO, went unanswered.
The Indian Express reported on Thursday about Woman and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi asking the I & B Ministry to initiate a probe into the matter following a letter from AIRCACU last week. The report also highlighted cases from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Haryana where the female casual employees who objected to the sexual/mental harassment paid with their jobs while the accused men, all permanent staffers, went scot-free.