The CPI(M) has constituted an internal committee to seek into complaints of sexual harassment, the Women and Child Development Ministry said on Thursday, noting it is the only political party to have responded to its official communication in the matter so far. In the backdrop of the ‘Metoo’ movement, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on October 18 urged all saw political parties form internal committees immediately to look into complaints of sexual harassment.
Gandhi commented she has written to six national parties and 59 regional parties to form internal complaints committee against sexual harassment and post information on it on their websites. A senior WCD official said CPI(M) was the only political party to have responded to its official communication in the issue.
In a letter to Gandhi, the Central Committee of the CPI(M) alleged it has constituted the internal complaints committee soon after the gazette notification of the sexual harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act in 2013. “The ICC is reconstituted after the Party Congress of CPI (M) in every three years. The 22nd Congress of the CPI(M) confirmed in April 2018,” it said.
The ICC has the following representatives: Mariam Dhawale (chairperson of the committee), V Muralidharan (member) and Kirti Singh (external member) and the information is placed on its official website. The request to form an internal committee to look into the cases of sexual harassment was made by Gandhi in the backdrop of the #metoo movement.
Allegations of sexual harassment against prominent people in several fields have come to light under India’s online “#MeToo” movement, which started with actor Tanushree Dutta accusing fellow actor — Nana Patekar — of harassing her during the shooting of a Bollywood film in 2008.
M J Akbar, former Minister of State for External Affairs, film-makers Subhash Ghai, Sajid Khan, Rajat Kapoor, and actor Alok Nath are among those who have been accused of sexual misconduct. They have denied the allegations.