Indian employers under pressure to respond | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 12, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, October 12, 2018

#METOO ALLEGATIONS

Indian employers under pressure to respond

Jr minister Akbar to take call on quitting: sources

Pressure is building on major Indian employers to take allegations of sexual harassment more seriously after a surge in the number of complaints against prominent public figures in the past week.

At least one major Indian newspaper, some politicians and women's groups have said that the requirements of the 2013 Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act need to be enforced by companies and organisations, and if necessary by the authorities.

The #MeToo movement gained traction in India in late September after the actress Tanushree Dutta said prominent actor Nana Patekar behaved inappropriately on the sets of a film they were shooting in 2008.

Since then, more than a dozen men in the media, entertainment and art worlds have been accused of offences, ranging from sexual harassment to rape. Union Minister MJ Akbar in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government was accused this week of inappropriate behaviour by at least seven women.

The 2013 sexual harassment law stipulates any organisation with more than 10 employees should have an independent committee to investigate allegations, reported Reuters.

"The committees required to address these complaints and grievances are either not properly constituted or simply do not exist," said TK Rajalakshmi, president of the India Women's Press Corps, which lobbies for the rights of female journalists.

Meanwhile, government sources said yesterday Union Minister Akbar should take a call on whether to resign after being accused of sex harassment by seven women in the tide of #MeToo allegations in India, reported NDTV Online.

Akbar was away in Nigeria's Lagos for a Mahatma Gandhi event when the allegations surfaced against him. Officials say he is travelling to Equitorial Guinea and is likely to return only on Sunday.

Denying reports that Akbar had been asked to cut short his trip, return immediately and resign, top sources said: "These are speculative stories."

Akbar's version would be heard after he returned, they said.

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