Saturday, 18 October 2014

Thank You Dr. Girija Vyas-ji

We wish to gratefully thank the following stalwarts for helping us and giving us some relief at least. How these people in authority helped us in spite of adverse pressure is truly noteworthy. 
  1. Dr. Girija Vyas, (ex-Chairperson of NCW, New Delhi and presently MP)
  2. Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman (present Cabinet Minister)
  3. Mrs. Devi Matthews (ex-Director of DWCD, Pondicherry)
  4. Mrs. Meena (ex- Deputy Director of DWCD, Pondicherry)
  5. Mr. T.M. Balakrishnan, I.A.S. (ex-Secretary (Welfare), Pondicherry)
  6. Mr. Vasanthakumar, I.A.S. (ex Sub-Divisional Magistrate cum Deputy Collector at Pondicherry)
  7. Mr. Vijaykumar Bidhuri, I.A.S. (ex Sub-Divisional Magistrate cum Deputy Collector at Pondicherry)
  8. Mr. Ashokan (Assisting Mr. Vasanthakumar and Mr. V. Bidhuri)

Since May 2004 all the five sisters, one after another, began facing degrading, humiliating and traumatic sexual harassment at the hands of trustees' henchmen. Our sexual harassment was masterminded by Nirmal Swain, an inmate-lawyer who got his law degree through dubious means having completed a 3 years course of law in 6 years. He was the gang-leader of the group comprising mainly of his father Bhagawan Das Swain, Krishna Chandra (who assaulted Jayashree), Girish Panda, Santosh Nayak, Shakar @ Sajjal Mitra, Chandramani Patel (who tried to molest Arunashri), Jagabandhu Rout (who I am now told was instrumental in drawing the pornographic cartoons sent to us) and the girl-friends of all these men.

Arunashri and Jayashree gave complaints to Mr. Bhaktavachalam and Mr. Udaybhaskar, (President and Secretary of Bar Association at Pondicherry and both of whom were then representing the Ashram Trustees in Hemlata's criminal case). Our complaints and requests to stop the sexual harassment, though these lawyers, fell on the deaf and sadistic trustees.

We sisters were constrained to meet personally the trustees during their Trust Board meeting on 26.07.2004 and voice our complaint. The trustees openly sided with these men and literally called us names. Their stance exposed their collusion to the sexual harassment faced by us. (See posting dated 26.07.2004)

However on 03.08.2004 when Chandramani Patel tried to molest Arunashri, we got really scared and started giving out written complaints to various authorities who could help us.
  1. On 04.08.2004 complaint to Manoj Das Gupta, Managing Trustee of Ashram
  2. On 05.08.2004 complaint to Pondicherry Police
  3. On 06.08.2004 complaint to National Commission for Women

The then NCW Chairperson Mrs. Poornima Advani, hands over our case to the then newly appointed Chairperson Mrs. S. Kamalini of SWC. We were relieved that at last we are going to get justice only to be thoroughly disillusioned. Without conducting any enquiry, on 19.01.2005, Mrs. Advani and Mrs. Kamalini gave statements to the effect that a report had been given by SCW to NCW finding our complaints of sexual harassment to be false. But they also gave a most revealing direction through the newspapers that men and women in the Ashram should be segregated. (See postings dated 06.10.2004 and 20.01.2005).

In spite of our written request no copy of the alleged report was furnished to us by Mrs. Kamalini (SWC). By then through the devious manipulations of the trustees, an impugned report had been created by them through the most appropriately initiated and conducted enquiry proceedings. Based on this impugned report trustees were trying to expel the five sisters. We were constrained to approach NCW and NHRC (National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi) in the first week of April 2005.

Luckily for us Dr. Girija Vyas had replaced Mrs. Poornima Advani. We met Dr. Girija Vyas (M.P.) and Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman (present cabinet minister) both of whom were genuinely concerned for our welfare. In spite of their thorough search they were unable to unearth the report as reported on 19.01.2005 by Mrs. Poornima Advani and Mrs. Kamalini. So Dr. Girija Vyas reopened our case through the Department of Women and Child Development, Pondicherry (DWCD). This enquiry is still pending with the Pondicherry Government. (See postings dated 19.03.2007, 06.08.2008)

Because of Dr. Girija Vyas, at the first instance, later with the help and concern of all the above-named persons, we have managed to sustain our dignity to a very great extent. All of us thank these upright persons once again for all the help that they have extended towards our welfare.

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