Panaji: Two women journalists here have filed a First Information Report (FIR) against a senior journalist for alleged sexual harassment, according to a senior police official.

Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, Kartik Kashyap, told reporters that an FIR under section 354A (related to sexual harassment) has been registered at the Women’s Police Station in Panaji.

According to the FIR, Rupesh Samant, Goa Bureau Chief of Press Trust of India (PTI) was accused of allegedly stalking the two victims, sending them vulgar messages via mobile phone and making sexual advances. This was done at Herald Cable Network, a local cable channel where the two journalists earlier worked.

Samant, according to information, also used to appear as a news anchor at the cable channel.

Samant was not reachable over the phone. The executive editor of PTI, V.S. Chandrasekar, at its head office in Delhi, told IANS that it “was a matter for the police to investigate.”

The Goa Union of Journalists said in a statement that Goa police should take the case to its logical conclusion. It demanded that the investigation into the alleged sexual harassment should “be expedited, without fear or favour.”

The state’s journalists’ body has also urged women victims to come forward if they have faced a similar situation at the workplace in media houses.

Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, responding to reporters queries at a Ganesh festival event, said that his government took a very serious note of all crimes against women and that the law would take its own course.

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The Goa Union of Journalists urges the Goa Police to seriously investigate and expedite the probe into the complaint of sexual harassment women journalists have lodged against Rupesh Samant a senior journalist and TV host for a local news channel, without fear or favour.
GUJ promises full support to all victims of sexual harassment in taking the case to its logical conclusion.
GUJ urges other women victims, to come forward if they have faced similar situation at the workplace in media houses, with the assurance that GUJ will support such victims and ensure complete confidentiality of the victims’ identity.
Goa police have registered a case of sexual harassment against Samant, based on a complaint filed by women victims, at the Women’s Police Station in Panaji. The complaint alleges the accused sent lewd messages on mobile, making sexually coloured remarks and making physical advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures.
He has been booked under section 354 and 354A of the IPC. Section 354 of IPC reads as follows:
“Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty.—Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty, shall be punished with impris­onment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”
The offence is non-bailable.
GUJ has already set up a sub committee headed by its president Sadguru Patil to facilitate complaints into cases of sexual harassment.
GUJ has already sent notices to and is following up with media houses to set up their internal complaints committees as mandated by the Sexual Harassment at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

Atish Naik
— General Secretary