By Express News Service – CHENNAI

30 March 2013

A woman news reader, who recently filed a sexual harassment complaint with police against the news editor of a private television channel, has been suspended from service along with her fiance.

Sources said the news reader and her fiance were suspended from work at Sun TV pending an inquiry into another complaint filed by her colleagues against her.

Speaking to Express, the victim said the complaint against her was a “fabricated one” to shield news editor Raja and his associate Vetrivendan so as to sabotage the sexual harassment complaint filed by her.

The 28-year-old news reader filed a complaint with the police on March 19 against the duo alleging that she faced harassment at work after she refused to concede their demands for sexual favours.

The duo had also allegedly threatened her with dire consequences if she complained about their moves.

Subsequently, a case was registered under section 506(ii) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 4 of the Tamil Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act. Raja was arrested and was remanded to Judicial Custody while Vetrivendan went missing. The latter had moved the Madras High Court for advance bail on Thursday and the matter was pending. Raja is now out on conditional bail.

Meanwhile, an forum of woman journalists on Thursday sought immediate reinstatement of the woman news reader and her fiance. Network of Women in Media, which is an independent forum of media professionals across the country, also demanded an inquiry into the case and sought setting up of a formal mechanism to redress sexual harassment cases at the Chennai-based channel.

The forum noted that there is no redressal mechanism at the channel for complaints of sexual harassment. This is in contempt of the guidelines issued in 1997 by the Supreme Court in the Vishakha case, which places an obligation on every establishment in the country to ensure the rights of women workers by creating a conducive workplace free from sexual harassment.

On the same day, a group of women journalists in the city separately come out with a statement in support of the victim and condemned the practice of targeting women for lodging complaint of sexual harassment at workplace. Sun TV officials were not immediately available for comment.