MeToo movement hits India’s public broadcaster, Maneka Gandhi writes to I&B Minister after several women allege sexual harassment

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Union Minister for Child and Women Development Maneka Gandhi has reportedly written to Information & Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore over reports of women working as casual announcers in All India Radio being allegedly sexually harassed.

Maneka Gandhi

A report by news agency ANI said that Gandhi had also asked Rathore to ensure that a sensitive and fair system was put in place ‘to address any such grievances in AIR.’

This was after a report by Indian Express quoted several women working as casual announcers in the AIR across India as complaining of sexual harassment by their seniors.

One woman Shanti Verma, who has worked as a casual announcer for two decades at AIR Obra in Uttar Pradesh, had accused the station head G P Nirala of rubbing against. Nirala had even allegedly commented on her breasts. The Internal Complaints Committee said that there was no truth in Verma’s complaint and cancelled her duty.

Another woman, Jyoti Pathania, was paid Rs 1,300 per session for a total of six sessions every month. She told Indian Express that she had not been assigned any duty since August 2016 after station head Suresh Kumar of AIR Dharamshala allegedly molested her.

“I was in the dubbing room when the lights suddenly went off. My boss Suresh Kumar pulled up a chair near me, grabbed and kissed me. I froze. Once the lights came on, I started my recording in a state of shock and he left. I finally broke down crying when the woman, who was to relieve me from my duty, arrived,” she was was quoted as saying.

India’s own MeToo movement has been gaining momentum with women in media and entertainment industry calling out their alleged sexual predators. Several top names in media and the entertainment industry have been named so far.

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