Now, JNU student complains of sexual harassment at IFFI
Panaji: Close on the heels of the Tehelka episode, an allegation of sexual harassment has hit the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI) after a Delhi-based student working as a programmer complained against a senior film festival official.
The complaint by the JNU student, which is lodged with the IFFI Director Shankar Mohan, has accused a senior festival officer of the rank of deputy director of making lewd suggestions in the form of indirectly asking for sexual favours.
"On the night of November 16, 2013, lewd suggestions were made by the said person in the form of indirectly asking for sexual favours," says the complaint lodged on November 17. "As a result of the incident, I feel harassed and highly offended. Hence I would like to report this matter under The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013," said the 25-year-old girl.
The girl was in Goa at the IFFI venue on the assignment to assist the Soul of Asia and World Cinema sections. The girl has accused the officer of inviting her to his cabin at the Old Goa Medical College (GMC) building in the late evening and suggested that she should accompany him for a drink.
"Drinks karne chalna hai, drinks bhi karenge aur sab kuch karna hai (Lets go for a drink, lets drink and do everything)," the complaint quotes the officer as saying. The victim further has said the officer repeated his comments again despite her showing signs of uneasiness over his advances. Along with the sexual harassment complaint, the girl has also told the festival director about the officer allegedly misusing CCTV monitoring facility in his cabin for voyeuristic pleasure as the cameras were installed at the workplace where women are employed.
Following the complaint, the IFFI directorate formed a three member committee comprising Nirupama Kotru, director (films) with Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry and two more women officials associated with the film festival. "I was asked to depose before the committee and told them what had happened," the girl, who has since resigned and left from the IFFI venue, told PTI over phone from Delhi.
"The officer verbally apologized before the committee, but he did not mean the apology. There was no written apology from him and the committee informed me that the matter was settled as they have made some recommendations," she said. The girl, who said that she felt deeply traumatized by the event, informed her family in Delhi who asked her to return home. She left Goa on Monday.
Repeated attempts to reach the festival director and Kotru met with no response.