#MeToo: All India Radio Fires Nine Women Who Filed Sexual Harassment Complaint
Director general AIR, said, "Those who are left out (after their performance review) tend to make this an ego issue.”
All India Radio (AIR) terminated the services of women employees, who spoke out against sexual harassment. Nine women employees — all casual broadcasters — of AIR’s Shahdol station in Madhya Pradesh, had gone public with their sexual harassment complaint against the station’s assistant director (programming), Ratnakar Bharti, reported The Times of India.
A police complaint was registered against Bharti and the Internal Complaint Committee of AIR had declared him guilty a year ago. However, Bharti still remains stationed today, at the AIR headquarters in New Delhi, under a “strictest vigilance watch”.
Similarly, women had complained against sexual harassment at AIR’s Dharamshala, Obra, Sagar, Rampur, Kurukshetra and Delhi stations. The accused in each case were let off with merely a warning but the complainants — all casual broadcasters — were asked to leave.
Director general All India Radio, Fayyaz Shehryar, however, denied any connection between termination of the nine-women and lodging of complaint against Bharti. “The review of casual broadcasters is an annual affair where poor performers are weeded out following a three-tiered process. Those who are left out tend to make this an ego issue. We cannot overlook a rule to benefit any individual,” he told TOI.
Noting the similarity in Shahdol station’s case and complaints from other stations where women were fired after registering a complaint, AIR trade union has written a letter to Prasar Bharti chief executive, Shashi Shekhar Vempati.
“It is very unfortunate that in most of the cases after making such complaints the victims have been further subjected to harassment and have even been “fired”. Also, in many instances, victims’ entry to their respective AIR stations has been banned while the officials against whom such complaints are made go scot-free and enjoy their jobs,” the letter said.
In the letter, the union pled “WeToo in MeToo”, and urged Vempati to “look into the matter seriously, reinstate these victims, compensate them for their loss and ensure that strictest possible punishment is meted out to such officials”.