#MeToo in All India Radio Shahdol MP Station: 9 Employees Who Complained Against Sexual Predators Terminated
New Delhi, October 31
With the #MeToo campaign gaining strength across the country, nine women employees of All India Radio’s Shahdol station in Madhya Pradesh have gone public with their complaints of sexual harassment against the station’s assistant director (programming), Ratnakar Bharti.
Despite a police complaint against him, and the Internal Complaint Committee of AIR declaring him guilty a year back, Bharti remains stationed at present at the AIR headquarters in New Delhi, though apparently under the “strictest vigilance watch”.
Meanwhile, the services of the nine women—all casual broadcasters—have since been terminated.
AIR official: No link between plaints & staffers’ termination
Similar complaints of sexual harassment have come in from the Dharamshala, Obra, Sagar, Rampur, Kurukshetra and Delhi stations. In each case, the AIR employees’ union has claimed that while the accused have been let off with just a warning, complainants — all casual broadcasters — have been asked to leave.
Speaking to TOI, director general All India Radio, Fayyaz Shehryar, said, “Every incident that has been reported has been probed by the Internal Complaints Committee. In the Shahdol instance, after the ICC verdict, Ratnakar Bharti was transferred immediately and he remains under the strictest vigilance watch at the DG Headquarters.”
Bharti is also facing proceedings under Section FR 56(j) of the Central Civil Services Pension Rules notified by the department of personnel and training (DoPT), where he may be compulsorily retired.
Shehryar, however, denied there was any link between the lodging of complaint against Bharti and the services of the women being terminated. “The review of casual broadcasters is an annual affair where poor performers are weeded out following a three-tiered process. Those who are left out tend to make this an ego issue. We cannot overlook a rule to benefit any individual,” Shehryar said.
The Shahdol case, however, along with similar complaints from six other AIR stations, has become the basis on which the All India Radio trade union has formally moved Prasar Bharati chief executive Shashi Shekhar Vempati, urging him to reinstate the