CAUTION, 'MEN AT WORK': STORIES OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT, FROM DEMPO COLLEGE TO HERALD PUBLICATIONS
Hey guys, we've received a well articulated piece on the Herald sexual harassment issue from Mr Augusto Pinto, who has seen a similar case involving Dempo college principal Dr Vaman Naik from close quarters. We are running his piece in two parts. This is the first one. Those who wish to comment on this piece will have have to either lend their names to their piece, or better still send us a response from their genuine email IDs, since the writer has stuck his neck out to state his point. Anonymous comments against the writer will not be approved.
History repeats itself. I wonder if Manjunath is getting lessons from V. R. Naik. To understand what I say, you will have to listen to a story which I have told before, but as it does not seem to register with people, I am ready to repeat it again and again and again
XxXxXxXxXxXxXTHE DEMPO COLLEGE SEXUAL HARASSMENT CASE
At the very start of the Dempo College case, V.R.Naik was asked to refrain from his acts of sexually harassing a young married college lecturer, not just by her but by many of her colleagues who could not bear to see what was going on.
He would not listen. And on the contrary, in an arrogant display of power, he went and terminated her services, and those of two other colleagues who supported her.
After finally gathering courage she agreed to face public scrutiny, [Remember - going public is the worst punishment for the victim in such cases. Society has the nasty habit of casting aspersions on the victim -"She must have done something to encourage him" - they say],
An Action Committee of prominent citizens came to her support, led by among others Adv. Avinash Bhosale, and Adv. Meera Merdhekar. They went to the press giving all the details of his foul deeds.
The Goa State Commission for Women held an enquiry, and indicted Vaman Naik, saying he was not fit to hold the post of a Principal. Although V.R. Naik responded to the Commission once, he then began to avoid them. Not a single staff member from the college said a word in his favour. The G.S.C.W. submitted a report which severely indicted V.R.Naik, saying he was not fit to hold the post of a Principal of a College. The problem is that the G.S.C.W. although it is a Statutory Body having much moral clout, is one which has only recommendatory authority.
The real authority which can prescribe punishment on a sexual harassment offender, the Supreme Court of India has ruled, is the Vishaka Committee. After a considerable amount of pressure was mounted on the management of the College, the Governing Body of Dempo Charities' Trust, to abide by the law of the land, a Vishaka Committee was finally appointed by the Acting Principal of the college, Dr. Deshpande of Dhempe College of Arts and Science, Miramar.
This Vishaka Committee again, and in no uncertain terms indicted V. R. Naik. V.R.Naik's fate should have been sealed at this point.
But no, the Governing Body of Dempo Charities' Trust which includes such worthies as the former Goa S.S.C.E. Board Chairman P.R. Nadkani, had in the meanwhile appointed a one - man inquiry officer, who in the face of all the evidence provided, without even examining the Accused, let him off without him even testifying and being cross-examined, in a Report, which quoted statements of witnesses who did not even appear before him!! The views of the Presenting Officer, which damned
V.R.Naik were not even given a mention.
Why did this happen? My guess is that the Management of D.C.T. - read Srinivas Dempo - one of, if not the richest man in Goa, will not tolerate anyone telling him who should be his managers - no matter if they are sexual harassers, no matter if they are rapists.So he allowed this farce.
The staff of the college went to the Directorate of Higher Education to question the legalities and proprieties of this in-house enquiry farce. When the D.H.E. questioned the Dempo Charities Trust about the matter, the D.C.T. panicked and threw the ball in the D.H.E.'s court asking their advice as to what was to be done. The D.H.E. after a great deal of persuation to give their opinion, put up a note saying the Vishaka Committee was final. But to delay matters further, they sent the note to the Law Dept. of the Govt. of Goa for approval. It is pending there now, for how many months...
In thee meanwhile V.R.Naik gets 50000 rupees a month as salary from the public exchequer. And to add insult to unjury, he has started a defamation case against the lecturers who stood as witnesses for the woman who was sexually harassed.
This is a long story. What has it got to do with the Herald and the Manjunath sexual harassment case?
(Part 2 later)