Professor Partha S Ghose ChairmanThis is the letter i woke up to on 2nd June, 2016.
D.O. 43029/27/Chairman/ 16-17 Dated : June 2, 2016
I understand from your communication to Shri Deepak Kumar, Director (Films), Ministry of I & B, Govt. of India, that you have complained against me for treating you brutally. Let me assure you that I have all sympathy and support for you. When I talked about washing dirty linen in public, I had provision 16 of the 'Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace' Act in mind, which makes disclosure of matters relating to sexual harassment in any manner punishable under law. Also, when I offered to give you a personal guard, which I did with all good intentions, you seem to have misunderstood me.
Because of allegations of bias against the ICC, I am now bound by law to follow the prescriptions of Clauses 10 and 11 of the Government of India Memorandum dated 16.07.2015 regarding 'Steps for conducting inquiry in case of allegation of sexual harassment'. No hasty decision in this regard will serve the cause.
I urge you to make yourself aware of all the legal and procedural provisions mentioned above.
(Partha S Ghose)
The Joint Secretary (Films), Ministry of I 8v B, Govt. of India Shri Deepak Kumar, Director(Films, MIB, Govt. of India The Chairperson, ICC The Dean
It was for the first time that the chairperson had replied to any of my complaints. Only this time, it was a complaint against himself. So let me put this in perspective: I complain against the chairperson to the ministry of I&B and the chairperson writes back to me? Then by that procedure when i complained about sexual harassment in the institute they should have set up a coffee chat with the professors who abused me, no?
So i wrote back to the ministry thus.
It is most unfortunate that i have been made to write repeatedly to the ministry due to lack of responsible behaviour from the part of the authorities. When i wrote to the ministry i had specifically mentioned various means of harassment that the chairperson had inflicted on me. Today i got a letter from the chairperson. First of all let me please point out the irregularity of the situation. It is to the ministry that i had written regarding the misbehaviour of Mr Partha Ghose. I was seeking the help of a higher authority to take action. Why is it that then the accused person himself is engaging in correspondence with me? When i approached the ICC with complaints of sexual harassment against professors, when i approached the director with various forms of intimidation by students, the practice was not and rightly so, to be asked to engage in a conversation with the accused persons. If a woman's modesty is questioned by a man should she be asked to engage in a discussion with the same man? I find this highly problematic.
Nevertheless, i am now going to address the explanations that Mr Partha Ghose has provided in the letter addressed to me.
Mr Ghose has cited the law which makes it illegal for details of sexual harassment to be disclosed. This is not only factually incorrect but also misappropriation. The chairperson who in his room had violated all my modesty as a woman is quoting from a law which is enabling women like me to complain against sexual harassment, the very crime i am fighting against and the one which Mr Ghose is supporting. Stating the incorrectness of Mr Ghose's statement.
1. The video of the professor which was made public was already viewed by students.In the morning i also received the copy of the ICC report which had pronounced the two accused professors guilty. All four of us complainants received it and we were all very happy. This was the result of joint efforts from a lot of people. The first injustice had occurred when the institute shared the ICC report with the accused professors and not with the complainants. It is after repeated requests and talks by various people including NGOs like Swayam and activists that they agreed to give it to us. Do you know that the director was not allowed to carry the ICC report to Delhi when he went to the ministry? What is it that is in there that the chairperson fears so much so that he is now only interested in the 'ICC is biased' chorus from the professors who have been found guilty?
2. The video is by no means related to sexual harassment. It is a video which speaks about the lack of discipline in the professor's life in hostel and in the presence of his students.
3. The person who shot the video and made a documentary film exercise out of it has raised no objection whatsoever in my making the video public.
These facts can be verified if required. This is the video in question and the second fact can be verified while watching it while the first and the third can be verified any moment by an inquiry at SRFTI.
The Chairperson claims that he meant well by stating that he would provide me with a guard who walks with me 24*7. He claims that i misunderstood him. This is not true. He was mocking me while he said it and this can be verified with the other student who was present there, Mr Kalhan Raina. When a female student is being called 'behen ke laudi' and threatened that 'this happened outside the institute. You can't do anything about it' by fellow male students, is the action to be taken that of employing a guard who curtails my freedom of movement and functioning or taking action against the perpetrators of this violence? Surely, a person holding such a powerful position as the chairperson should know better?
Mr Ghose is mentioning the ICC when i had not mentioned anything related to the ICC in my complaint. In fact the conversation was not about ICC at all.
Also numbering the harassment that was carried out in the presence of a student and the director and which the chairperson has chosen not to reply to
1. Why did Mr Ghose ask me to put my phone away saying that he would not talk to us if we were to quote him later?
2. When i started explaining the violence that was inflicted upon me why did he say 'taali ek haath se nahi bajta', and that the violence against us is response to our provocation, a clear instance of victim blaming.
3. Why did he ask Mr Kalhan Rain and Ms Debjani Banerjee to 'control kunjila'? while perpetrators of crime were and are roaming on campus uncontrolled?
Sir, i believe that the harassment that i was subjected to needs immediate inquiry and action. If it is not the ministry of I and B that i should approach, please guide me as to where to go with this complaint. I believe that no woman, no woman student should be subjected to this form of victim blaming and mockery for just having spoken up. Please give me directions as to whom to approach so that my grievance is redressed and not left with a letter from the chairperson with explanations which do not correspond to the accusations. Action needs to be taken against all forms of injustice and Mr Ghose has no reason to be exempt from it. I am willing to answer any questions regarding the incident and provide testimonies from any of the witnesses mentioned in my letter. The director himself was present during this ordeal and had later mentioned to a faculty about the way in which the chairperson had spoken to me. The faculty is willing to testify as well, if required.
Waiting for justice,