Harassment complaint ignored, officer talks of women's security

The deputy director of education (Pune division) Suman Shinde, who has not even seen the enquiry report about the sexual harassment complaint by a lady teacher, submitted to her a week ago, is working to improve security of women in the education department.

In a state level conference for gazetted officers she aggressively made a demand to school education minister Rajendra Darda and education state minister Foujia Khan to provide private vehicles to taluka level block education women officers, who have the responsibility of inspecting schools.

Gathering dust: MiD DAY published a report on how deputy director education of Pune division took seven months to conduct an inquiry of a sexual harassment complaint by a teacher, who was terminated by Rambhau Mhalgi School, and did not even look at the report. File pic

On June 21 MiD DAY published a report (Teacher sexually harassed: Enquiry report submitted, but still gathering dust) explaining how deputy director education of Pune division took seven long months to conduct an enquiry of a sexual harassment complaint lodged by a lady teacher, who was abruptly terminated by Rambhau Mhalgi School in Kadus, Khed taluka. The report was submitted a week ago but Shinde has still not looked at it.

Despite, that she has made a demand for the improvement of security to women. Shinde said, “Block education lady officers have the responsibility of hundreds of schools. In the absence of transport facility by government, conducting regular visits and making inspections is very difficult. Many times senior officials or local body members ask them to go to government rest houses or their homes for meetings. Such practices should stop immediately.”

She added, “The PWD officials often do not cooperate with lady officers in case they miss a state transport bus by providing them with rest houses. That’s why government should provide them a transport facility.”

When asked if she had received complaints from women in the education department, Shinde said, “Till now my office has not received a single complaint. But, other departments often receive such complaints. That’s why making arrangements for a transport facility for women officials is a must.”

Fouzia Khan, in her speech, said, “The government will really think on providing transport facilities to women officers. Besides, if women have any complaints, they should approach me without hesitation. All complaints will be taken seriously.”

After her assurance of women’s safety, when MiD DAY informed Khan about the complaint of sexual harassment by a lady teacher from a small village she said, “The case comes under local bodies (authorities). It is their responsibility. The government can’t look into it.”  

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