Women

#MeToo: AIR Fires 9 Women Employees Who Accused Official of Sexual Harassment

In addition to Shahdol in MP, similar complaints of sexual harassment have been received from six other stations.

New Delhi: In what appears to yet another #MeToo case, a report in the Times of India has said that the services of nine women employees of All India Radio in Madhya Pradesh have been terminated following their complaint of sexual harassment against the station’s assistant director.

According to the October 31 news report, assistant director (programming), Ratnakar Bharti, remains in position at the AIR’s headquarters in New Delhi (although under the ‘strictest vigilance watch’), in spite of the AIR Internal Complaints Committee having declared him guilty over a year ago.

The names of the complainants and the time of the allegations are not yet known.

Bharti is reportedly facing proceedings under section FR 56(j) of the Central Civil Services Pension Rules notified by the department of personnel and training, where he may be compulsorily retired.

Also read: #MeToo: IISc Forces Senior Professor Giridhar Madras Into Compulsory Retirement

The Times of India report quoted Fayyaz Shehryar, director general of AIR, as saying, “Every incident that has been reported has been probed by the Internal Complaints Committee. In the Shahdol instance, after the ICC verdict, Ratnakar Bharti was transferred immediately from Shahdol and he remains under the strictest vigilance watch at the DG Headquarters.” He has also said that the lodging of complaint against Bharti and the termination of services of the women employess were unrelated.

In addition to Shahdol, similar complaints of sexual harassment have been received from six other stations – Dharamshala, Obra, Sagar, Rampur, Kurukshetra and Delhi. As per the AIR employees’ union’s claim, in each of the cases, while the complainants have been asked to leave the organisation, the accused have been let off with only a warning.

The Times of India report has also said that AIR trade union has formally petitioned Prasar Bharati chief executive Shashi Shekhar Vempati, urging him to reinstate complainants and take the strictest possible action against the accused.