A working woman was harassed sexually in work place by her senior colleagues in Assam, India. The victim, a computer operator of a private company, was subjected to a prolonged harassment, molestation and attempted rape. No actions were taken on her complaint by the higher officials of the company. The accused used their positions to make sure that she submitted herself to them and never complained against them. The situation became unbearable and she was compelled to quit the job. The company, however, did not pay her dues. A criminal case was registered by the police but no visible actions were taken. There is strong apprehension that justice would be denied and she would be subjected to further harassment by police.
Identification of the alleged victim(s):
Name: Ms. Esther Vanlalruati
Address: Village: Hospital Veng,
Police Station: Darlawn
Sate: Mizoram, India
Identification of the alleged perpetrators of the violation;
Name: 1. Mr. Sandip Sarkar
Assistant Regional Manager
2. Mr. Rajeeb Nath
Address: Regional Office
Rose Valley Chain Marketing System Limited
Shyama Prasad Road,
A Subsidiary of Rose Valley Group of Companies with Registered and Head Office at RGM-25/3010, Raghunathpur, VIP Road, Kolkata – 700059, West Bengal, India
Name: 3. Mr. Puiya
Designation: Sub Inspector of Police
Address: Silchar Sadar Police Station
Cachar, Assam, India
Date and place of incident:
Date: From 18 November 2009 at 09:00 pm still continuing
Place: Aizwal in Mizoram, Bhaga and Silchar in Assam, India
A detailed description of the circumstances of the incident in which the alleged violation occurred:
According to information received by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), Ms. Esther Vanlalruati of village Hospital Veng under police station Darlawn in the district of Aizwal in Mizoram state, had been working as office assistant and computer operator in a company named Rose Valley Chain Marketing System Ltd, a subsidiary of Rose Valley Group of Companies with Registered and Head Office at RGM-25/3010, Raghunathpur, VIP Road, Kolkata – 700059, West Bengal, since December 2007. At first she was working at Aizwal Branch (which situates in Mizoram state of North East India). At that time, the Assistant Regional Manager Mr. Sandip Sarkar from regional office at Shyama Prasad Road, Shillongpatti, Silchar in Assam used to call Ms. Vanlalruati over the telephone often and would use sexually coloured language. In the like manner, he called her on 18 November 2009 at 09:00 pm and this time he directly demanded her sexual favours. But she refused outright and requested him never to use such language with her in future.
Mr. Sandip Sarkar, however, procured transfer of Ms. Vanlalruati to Bhaga Branch which is nearer to the regional office at Silchar (about 45 kms). Mr. Sarkar increased the frequency of his call to her and continued using unsolicited and sexually coloured languages including direct demand for sexual favours. Moreover, he started calling her friend and colleague Ms. Hellen Lalramnuami and would request her to influence Ms Vanlalruati into sexual submission to him. It was impossible for them to avoid his call because he was their boss.
Another day Mr. Sarkar asked them to come at Silchar Branch at 4 pm with intention to make them stay for the night. When they told him that they would not be able to return because plying of buses from Silchar to Bhaga would stop after around 4pm, he offered them to stay at a hotel at Silchar. However, they refused.
Both Ms. Vanlalruati and Ms Lalramnuami complained to the Senior Marketing Member Mr. Mrinal Kanti Dutta about the harassment to which they were subjected by Mr. Sarkar. Mr. Dutta enquired into the matter. Instead of taking actions against the accused, Mr. Dutta and vigilance officer of the company requested the victims to forgive Mr. Sarkar for the sake of the company’s name and fame.
In order to teach a lesson to the victims and pressure them into submission, Mr. Sarkar kept Ms. Vanlalruati’s increment of salary pending by misusing his position. Then another official Mr. Rajeeb Nath also became an accomplice of Mr. Sarkar. Mr. Nath contacted Ms. Vanlalruati and told her that all her increment would be released and she would also be posted at her home town Aizwal provided that she submitted herself to the demand of Mr. Sarkar. But she refused. Since then both Mr. Sarkar and Mr. Nath continued harassing the ladies regularly over the telephone.
The situation gradually became unbearable to Ms. Vanlalruati and she decided to quit the job. She submitted her resignation letter on 02 November, 2010 to Mr. Jyoti Prasad Mohan, the regional manager to be effective from on 30 November, 2010. On 2 December, 2010 she went to the regional office at Silchar for final settlement of her salary and other dues including Employees Provident Fund, Human Resource Assistance etc.
When she reached the regional office at Silchar at around 12 noon, she found the Regional Manager out of station. The main accused Mr. Sandip Sarkar was in charge of the office. Mr. Sarkar intentionally kept her waiting outside his cabin until 2:30 pm. When she entered the cabin and took her seat, he called Mr. Rajeeb Nath over the phone and the latter immediately entered the cabin. Both of them then asked her to stay in a hotel and have sex with them. If she obliged all her problems would be resolved, they told her. Ms. Vanlalruati sternly rejected this proposal and got up from the chair. Suddenly both of them jumped on her and assaulted her physically. They tried to overpower her and rape her then and there. She gathered strength and started shouting. Other office bearers assembled at the noise. Nevertheless, both the accused somehow managed to escape. Ms. Vanlalruati claimed that Mr. Sandip Sarkar was pulling her shirt and while he escaped he took her gold chain worth Rupees 15000/- (fifteen thousand) along with the upper part of her shirt.
Ms. Esther Vanlalruati filed a complaint at Vairengte Police Station (PS) in Kolasib district, Mizoram. The officer in charge (OC) forwarded it to the Silchar Sadar Police Station on 3 December, 2010 and the OC of this PS registered it as Case No. 2254 under sections 342, 354, 427 read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 dated 4 December 2010 against Mr. Sandip Sarkar and Mr. Rajib Nath. Sub Inspector of police Mr. Puia was made the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case. The victim claimed that the IO did not show any interest in investigating the case after only recording the statement of the victim. According to her, he also started annoying them. He made several calls to her from various mobile numbers, but did not want to talk about the case or investigation. He continued to ask her whether she wanted to rejoin the company or she would join any other work. He expressed his readiness to help her in either way. He last made a call from mobile number +919435295037 to Ms. Vanlalruati’s mobile number +9197774782396 at 6.27pm on 18 January 2011. This overzealousness of the officer made the victim suspicious of his motive, who is only interested in getting justice.
Tags: Assam, Assam police, Barak, Barak Human Rights Protection Committee, Barak valley, BHRPC, Cachar, Civil liberties, Civil rights, Dignity, Discrimination, Gender discrimination, Girls, Human dignity, Human rights, Humiliation, Impunity, India, Intimidation, Molestation, North East, North East India, Police, Police station, Rape, Right to life, Right to live with dignity, Sex, Sexual assault, Sexual harassment, Sexual harassment at work place, Silchar, State police, Violence against women, Women, Work place harassment, Working women