Maneka Gandhi sets up panel to look into all MeToo cases

Blanche Robertson
October 13, 2018

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi stressed that she believes in the pain and trauma behind every single complaint which is being filed by victims of sexual exploitation.

The Ministry will be setting up a committee of senior judicial and legal persons as members to examine all issues emanating from the '#MeTooIndia' movement.

Gandhi said she will form four-member committee of retired judges to conduct public hearings of #MeToo cases. "Women are also angry that sexual molestation cases are not dealt with effectively in several places", Gandhi said.

She said when women have started talking their allegations should be taken seriously.

The most notable personalities who have been on the receiving end of the #MeToo movement are Minister of State MJ Akbar, director Vikas Bahl, Sajid Khan, Subhash Ghai, comedian Varun Grover, etc.

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The Me Too wave in India, which was started previous year by student Raya Sarkar, who released a List of Sexual Harassers in Academia (LoSHA), found a new push after actor Tanushree Dutta accused actor Nana Patekar of sexual harassment.

Gandhi said men who indulge in sexual harassment need to be named and shamed first. "The question here is how can they prove these after all these years. they have faced verbal assault, they have been touched, pinched, their clothes have been pulled".

In an official statement Gandhi said that in order to ensure harassment-free workplaces covering all (all ages, full-time, part-time, public and private sector, organised or unorganised sectors etc., including domestic workers, students, apprentices, and even the women visiting an office), the government has put in place an effective legal and institutional framework in place through the 'The sexual harassment at women at workplace (prevention, prohibition and redressal) Act'2013.

She said her ministry has created a woman friendly environment in which they can complain to her directly. Women can also mail at min-wcd@nic.in or tweet at #HelpMeWCD and the ministry will take up the complaints with the authorities concerned. She urged people not to mock women speaking out against the harassment meted out to them.

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