Officer accused of sexual harassment of woman Assistant Sub-Inspector

Writers, women activists, and representatives of various social organisations held a protest in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office here on Friday demanding an independent inquiry into the complaint of mental and sexual harassment made by a woman Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) against Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) T.R. Jagannath.

The Assistant Sub-Inspector has accused Mr. Jagannath of abusing her while rejecting application for leave on Wednesday.

In her complaint to Police Commissioner Manish Kharbikar, she has accused Mr. Jagannath of making suggestions for sexual favours. Mr. Karbikar has asked Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Muthuraya to inquire into the allegation.

Participating in the protest, writer Sara Aboobacker said it was disgusting to know how the ACP has behaved with his subordinate officer. “We fought against atrocities against women in the last five years and voted out the BJP government.

This incident shows there is no change in harassment towards women,” she said. Ms. Aboobacker said such a conduct shows the police in bad light and such officers should not be in the service. “If an officer can behave in such a way with his subordinate, how can you accept him to protect women,” she said.

Vidya Dinker, the convenor of Mahila Dourjanya Virodhi Vedike, expressed her displeasure over the reaction of Mr. Kharbikar treating the complaint as an “internal matter”. “If such is an attitude, you cannot expect the lower rung police officials to be serious on complaints of harassment on women.” Ms. Dinker said the complaint should be inquired by a senior woman police officer and Mr. Jagannath should be kept under suspension till completion of the inquiry. She said Mr. Kharbikar should also set up committee at the Police Commissionerate level to enable women employees’ complaint about harassment at workplace as laid down by the Supreme Court.

Muneer Katipalla, the District Secretary of Democratic Youth Federation of India, said Mr. Kharbikar was quick to keep under suspension a police constable in Surathkal, who was accused of sending message with vulgar content to a woman constable. “But the same reaction was absent in this case. This raised question over sincerity of Mr. Kharbikar in attending to the complaint,” he said. Mr. Katipalla expressed his displeasure over the silence of District In-charge and Forest Minister B. Ramanath Rai with regard to this issue.

Mr. Katipalla said Mr. Jagannath was facing allegations of falsely charging four persons in connection with the July 28 home stay attack. The ACP had also been accused of harassing many policemen.

He had also been accused of allowing illegal betting units and allowing illegal sale of liquor in areas coming under his jurisdiction, he said.

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