A 42-year-old woman, working at a managerial position with a city-based medical research institute, has registered an FIR against six of her former colleagues, alleging sustained sexual harassment, non-cognisance of an official complaint with the organisation and death and rape threats as a result of the complaint.
Ironically, two of the accused are members of the firm’s Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) committee and allegedly shielded the main accused and tried to intimidate the victim.
According to the Bhoiwada police, the victim worked on a contract basis and submitted a written application on June 30. Based on the application, the police on Thursday registered an FIR after recording her detailed statement.
The main accused in the case has been identified as the employee welfare officer at the institute. The complainant, in her statement, told the police that ever since she joined the organisation on July 27 last year, the man repeatedly visited her cabin under various pretexts and made comments about her looks and appearance.
As time passed, he allegedly grew bolder and began touching her without consent, pretending that it was by accident. On the pretext of falling in love with her, he invited her to outstation trips.
Despite warnings from the woman, the behaviour continued. When she brought it to the notice of her superior, he didn’t take her seriously. On March 8 this year, the man allegedly accosted her at the Women’s Day function and touched her inappropriately.
He allegedly claimed that he himself was the secretary of the firm’s POSH committee and that she could make all the complaints she wanted but nothing would come out of them.
After the second complaint, two senior officials allegedly came to her cabin and threatened her against making any further complaints.
As per her complaint, subsequently, all the accused started repeatedly harassing her, with character assassination. She later learnt that the employee welfare officer had been spreading rumours about her even before she joined as he had been eyeing her post.
Subsequently, two other accused, who are on the firm’s POSH committee, also allegedly threatened her with dire consequences if she complained about the man.
“Last month, after my contract was renewed, the two senior offices submitted a false complaint against me and locked me out of my own cabin. I spent several days under extreme stress and finally decided to seek legal action after discussing the matter with my family,” she said in her statement.
The police have booked the welfare officer and four others for assault or criminal force to outrage a woman’s modesty, sexual harassment, stalking, defamation and criminal intimidation under the Indian Penal Code.
Police Inspector Dilip Masram, who currently holds additional charge of the Bhoiwada police station, confirmed that all the six accused had been booked.
The managing director of the firm was out of station when contacted. He directed the Free Press Journal to contact a woman director but she could not be reached for comment.