Saturday, January 02, 2016

Rejoinder: Activist denies sexual harassment, says he was ready to apologize as incident was unintentional

By Our Representative
A NGO senior activist, whom Navsarjan Trust executive director Manuja Pradeep in a Facebook post had referred to for sexually abusing a woman activist in senior position, has claimed that the incident was “entirely unintentional.” In an email statement in Gujarati to Counterview, the activist (we are withdrawing his name -- Editor) said, “Whatever had happened was a totally accidental and unintended. I had no intention to sexually abuse her.”
Citing the incident, Pradeep had said, it is not uncommon for women in positions of power to face sexual abuse in India. Counterview carried a story on December 30 on the incident, after which the activist sent the email statement.
He insists that he had conveyed to the trustees of the NGO that, despite the untended nature of whatever had happened, he was ready to apologize. "I was ready to express my regret, as whatever happened was totally inadvertent”, the activist said, “I want to make it clear that I was not guided by any kind of evil design or malice.”
He said in his statement, he had given in writing that “in case the trustee committee or the investigating committee wants, I am ready to undergo any inquiry, including narco test or lie-detection test.”
Pointing out that he had written this to the committee set up by the NGO on December 31, 2014, the activist says, “Despite this, violating legal norms, I was removed from the organization on January 28, 2015.”
Also objecting the inquiry committee's methods,the activist said, its trustees “pressurized me to give in writing, apologizing for the sexual harassment within 24 hours.”
Worse, he added, “Six women and nine men activists of the NGO, who had expressed their opinion in my favour, were given 24 hour notice to unconditionally apologize for supporting me.”
According to him, things did not stop here. “Two activists who continued supporting me were suspended, and their pay was stopped.”
Saying that he was “removed” from the NGO even though he was not handed over report of the inquiry, the activist wonders why has there not been “any police complaint.”
This was in response to Manjula Pradeep, executive director of Navsarjan Trust, who created a flutter in a social media post (Facebook), referring to how the NGO activist had “sexually attacked” a woman rights leader during a campaign to end violence against women in 2014.

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