Workplaces in J&K are ‘safe for women’, at least records say so
Official panel yet to receive any complain since its reconstitution
Deepak Khajuria. Updated: 10/15/2018 11:31:25 AM

JAMMU: While the internet nowadays is flooded with tweets and posts featuring #MeToo hashtag, with women alleging horrific experiences of sexual harassment, mostly at workplaces, the militancy-ridden Jammu and Kashmir, it seems, is safe for women, as the official complaint committee on sexual harassment of women at workplace reconstituted by the state government in July this year, is yet to receive any such complaint in past three months.

From film celebrities to prominent journalists, a number of men have been named by women cutting across the states for having harassed them sexually and mentally, mostly at workplace, ever since the #MeToo campaign took off in India.

In our state, the two such incidents came from a police officer from Jammu and a journalist now settled outside J&K, who accused on various social media platforms-- a retired senior police officer and a renowned theatre personality, respectively, of having harassed them.

However, speaking of sexual harassment of female state government employees at workplace, the official panel, which was reconstituted in July this year, has not received any such complaint since then.

It may be recalled here that the state government on July 20, 2018 had reconstituted the complaint committee on sexual harassment of women at workplace.

Senior IAS officer, Sarita Chauhan, who is also Commissioner/Secretary to the Government, Higher Education Department was appointed as the chairperson of the five-member committee, othwe members being Kusum Badyal, KAS, Special Secretary to the Government, Housing & Urban Development Department and Nuzhat Shah, Section Officer, Industries & Commerce, a representative of an NGO by the social welfare department and a person co-opted by the chairperson as two more members.

However, the committee which was entrusted with the powers to register and enquire into and dispose of the complaints, if any, of sexual harassment against women employees of the Civil Secretariat, is yet to receive a single complaint in almost three months.

When contacted, chairman of the committee, Sarita Chouhan confirmed that they are yet to get a single complaint of such nature.

“Nobody approaches us till date. Not a single one of the employees. And if there is no such incident anywhere in state government sector or in civil secretariat, then these are good signs,” said Sarita Chouhan and added that this is internal complaint platform for only female government employees.

However, some other women bureaucrats and gazette officers and employees at clerical level, on the condition of anonymity, informed that they have heard about such incidents and more often than not, internal action is taken against erring officers.

“There are also chances that sometimes women employees hide such things. While campaigns like #MeToo is a platform to share such experiences, but allegations as grave as such, require verification and investigation too,” said one of them.

The Jammu Kashmir State Commission for Women, which takes cognizance of complaints from women other than government employees too, is lying defunct since June, after its chairperson Nayeema Ahmad Mahjoor resigned from her post after breakup of PDP-BJP alliance government.

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