Seven days after the BJP sacked its Uttarakhand general secretary (organisation), Sanjay Kumar, following a complaint of sexual harassment against him, the complainant told The Indian Express that the party leader had tried to kiss her forcefully twice, grabbed her several times and used to send her “vulgar” photographs.
Speaking over the phone, the complainant identified herself as a BJP worker hailing from Delhi who has been staying in Dehradun since 2006. She claimed that Kumar sexually assaulted her repeatedly this year at the party’s office in Dehradun where she used to go for “data entry work”.
She also alleged that Kumar got party workers to snatch her phone in which she had saved some of her conversations with him. And, she said, she had complained several times to other party leaders about Kumar’s behaviour but was ignored. Kumar has not responded in public to the allegations, with the state BJP president Ajay Bhatt stating on November 8 that the general secretary was being removed from the post on “his own request”. Dehradun Police confirmed that they had received a complaint on October 4 from the complainant about her phone being “taken” by “two persons”.
Detailing her allegations against Kumar, the complainant said: “In February, I was assigned the duty of entering data of bank cheques received under the party’s fund-raising scheme, Aajivan Sahyog Nidhi. I used to visit the party office every day for the data entry work,” she said.
It was during this time that she came in contact with Kumar, she said. “He would make indecent comments. At least twice, he tried to kiss me forcefully. He would regularly send me vulgar photographs downloaded from the Internet. He also sent me photographs of his private parts on WhatsApp but would delete them within seconds of sending them to me,” she alleged.
According to the complainant, several complaints conveyed verbally to fellow BJP workers and leaders went unacknowledged. “Eventually, I stopped going to the party office in March. Everyone I approached asked me for proof against him (Kumar), which I didn’t have. I was even told by a BJP leader in Dehradun that I was making a big deal of the experience, and that being sexually involved with male politicians was common for women entering politics,” she said.
Later, the complainant said, one of her friends suggested that she record her phone conversations with Kumar, which she “began doing in March itself”.
“When I had enough evidence against him (Kumar), I warned him that I would approach party leaders. But on October 4, he got my phone snatched through other party workers. I submitted a written application at the Dhara police station about my phone having been forcefully taken from me, but no action was taken on my complaint,” she claimed. When contacted, SI Kuldeep Pant, in-charge of the Dhara police station, said: “We did receive an application on October 4, which said that two persons had taken the phone. An inquiry was carried out and it was found that the phone had been later returned to the complainant.”
On November 4, Hindi daily Amar Ujala first published a report on the allegations against Kumar. “I had to leave Dehradun for a while after the report was published since I was scared that something bad would be done to me. He (Kumar) is a powerful man,” she said. A former RSS pracharak, Kumar was the BJP’s Uttarakhand general secretary (organisation) for almost seven years.
“I spoke to (BJP state president) Ajay Bhatt over his (Kumar’s) indecent behaviour, but he (Bhatt) paid no heed my complaints,” she said.
When contacted, Bhatt denied having been approached by the woman. “Someone told me that the woman has been claiming that she told me about Sanjay Kumar’s behaviour, but I don’t recall having had such a conversation with any woman… If Kumar is guilty, he will have to face the consequences,” Bhatt said. Kumar could not be reached for comment. In an email to Dehradun Police Saturday, the women wrote about the sexual harassment that she was allegedly subjected to by Kumar and expressed the wish to file an FIR against him. She also sought security cover. “I might file an FIR soon, but I am scared to enter Dehradun town since I have no security and the police have not acted on my request for security,” she said.
Dehradun SP (Rural) Sarita Dobhal, who is conducting the probe on the allegations, said: “The complainant has not yet asked us for security. We have asked her to come to Dehradun so that we can speak with her and, based on her statement, file an FIR in the case. She has told us that she will be meeting us soon.”