Three employees of Doordarshan Television Network on Friday alleged that they were sexually harassed by their superiors on the pretext of getting their contracts renewed. Responding to the allegations, Doordarshan sources said the network had acted promptly on the complaints of sexual harassment and would gather more information on the matter.
The women claimed at a press conference in the national capital that they were harassed on the pretext of getting their contracts renewed. One of the complaints dates back to 2015.
"I was threatened and abused when I approached the internal committee dealing with sexual harassment complaints. The committee was fair and gave its recommendations but they were paid no heed to by the authorities," one of the women alleged.
She claimed she filed the complaint against the accused in 2015. The Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) ordered his suspension but it was not followed by DD authorities, she said.
While one of the women worked in DD Bhopal, two are from DD Delhi. Two of the women came with their faces covered. Only two of them spoke. The women, all of them contractual employees, did not get into details of the harassment incidents.
One of the three women claimed she had not been paid her salary for eight months -- ever since she complained to the ICC.
The woman told reporters that she filed the complaint with the ICC in March 2018. No action was taken against the superior she had complained about. Instead, she was transferred and was not allowed to join her new assignment, she alleged.
Varuna Bhandari, a lawyer, who is advising the victims, said she has been approached by seven other women employees also from Doordarshan who have alleged sexual harassment at their work place.
"In nine out of 10 cases, the ICC did not pay attention to the sexual harassment complaints," Bhandari claimed at the press conference.
"Transfer of such sexual predators seems to be the norm at the Doordarshan offices and is considered punishment enough. There seems no need to actually punish these offenders," she alleged.
Bhandari demanded that an awareness programme be started at the organisation as "presently there is nothing".
The three women also demanded that the ICC should "diligently look into the sexual harassment complaints at workplace".
"The astonishing part is the fact that till date no training session or workshop has been organised by the public body in order to create awareness," one of the women said.
According to sources in DD, ICCs have been set up in all DD Kendras.
"However, we will gather information about the status of complaints," the source said.