NIFT Hyderabad sacks 56 female housekeepers who accused employee of sexual harassment
The accused D Srinivas Reddy continues to work in the campus, while the institute has asked female staff to leave the institution and is seeking new replacements
A NIFT-Hyderabad staffer D Srinivas Reddy has allegedly sexually harassed female housekeeping staff and has pushed them for sexual favours, said staff supervisor Ratna Kumari.
“Srinivas used to sexually harass women employees who would enter to his cabin. He would hold the women staff by their hips, click their photographs without permission, and call them home to sleep with him,” stated a report on Newsminute.
“He became so open about his acts that he would directly come to me and ask me to send young and pretty women to his cabin. When I told him that none of the women wanted to work with him, he said that I have a good figure and asked me to sleep with him.”
Kumari adds, “This went on for over a year during which few women staffers quit their jobs, unable to tolerate the harassment.” Kumari claimed that even after 7 months of filing the complaint, no action has been taken either by the Internal Complaints Committee or the police.
According to The Indian Express, the women initially approached the Internal Complaints Committee on the campus and informed them about Srinivas’s misbehaviour with the staff. Receiving no reply from seniors, the women decided to lodge a FIR, against Reddy. On the other hand Srinivas Reddy threatened the women and Murali, their contractor and the owner of Murali Manpower Agency.
“A team from Delhi reached Hyderabad to handle the situation. They spoke to all the staff, she informed us unofficially that they understood that it was a case of sexual harassment. They claimed that a report was sent to Hyderabad. But after seven months, officials in Hyderabad claim there has been no harassment and Srinivas Reddy is still continuing in his job,” says Kumari.
“Srinivas wasn’t authorised to look after the housekeeping services and I was confused. And never have I received a complaint about anyone in my staff. I went to the campus the following day and asked Kumari about the issue. She and the other staff members told me they were being sexually harassed by Srinivas, and that they are filing a complaint against him. I offered Kumari a job somewhere else, but she refused to step back. She told me she wouldn’t quit because she had done nothing wrong,” Murali says.
In response to the alleged inaction by both the police and the institute, a group of around 13 staffers staged a protest on June 17, they claimed that neither the Internal Complaints Committee nor the police had taken any action, The New Indian Express reported. They also alleged that the police are looking into the possibility of a false complaint.
“We have filed a complaint, some seven months ago, however till this date, nobody has helped us out,” said the supervisor of the staff. “Four of our team members have been sexually abused by the professor.”
As per reports, the police has detained the protesting women.
“This could be a motivated attempt. Though we have filed the case in October we came to know that the women were creating pointless ruckus for being terminated from service. The case is now closed. We are also looking into the aspect of a possible bogus case as the faculty accused had pulled up the contractor last year for their poor performance,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Madhapur Venkateshwar.
Since an FIR was registered against him, Srinivas Reddy has been absconding. According to the women, Srinivas Reddy is quite influential therefore he has the complete support of the officials and administrators of NIFT.
Since this news went viral on news channels and social media, the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of NIFT looked into the complainants.
National Institute of Fashion Technology in Hyderabad, fired 56 female housekeeping staff, including those who have been working at the campus for over a decade, after they complained of sexual harassment by an employee. NIFT on JUNE 18th had a asked the agency to terminate their services and send their replacement, The News Minute reported
However the accused D Srinivas Reddy, a stenographer continues to work at NIFT, despite accusations of sexually abusing the women and using sexual obscenities and connotations while speaking to them.
The case came to light in October 2018 when the supervisor of the staff had filed a complaint against Reddy for sexually harassing some of the workers.
Here are some reactions on Twitter on the incident