With a lady IAS officer complaining against a Punjab cabinet minister for sending her “inappropriate text messages”, the Shiromani Akali Dal on Thursday accused Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of “frivolous” attitude towards addressing such a grave complaint by the lady officer.
Dubbing the sexual harassment of senior IAS officer as “harrowing”, senior vice-president of SAD Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal said the Cabinet minister should be immediately sacked.
Confirming the complaint against the minister, Punjab CM Amarinder, who is currently in Israel on an official tour, had told a newspaper on Wednesday that the matter related to vulgar messages to a lady IAS officer has been taken very seriously and it has been resolved to the officer’s satisfaction.
“The matter was brought to my notice some weeks ago and I had asked the minister to apologise and sort it out with the lady officer. I understand he had done so to the satisfaction of the officer and, thus, the matter was resolved,” said the CM in a statement from Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
Grewal said the CM is trying to condescendingly rub it aside by making a statement from his vacation that “it has been resolved”. Asking that if a senior IAS officer is bearing the brunt of the minister’s sexual advances and inappropriate behaviour, what must be the junior level woman employee’s plight? Most do not have the confidence and face social stigma to come out in the open and complain, Grewal said.
“We raise a strong objection that the CM cannot decide that a mere apology is sufficient. Concrete action under 345 IPC should be taken and a case registered against the minister. The CM as head of the government should set an example that women workforce is provided a safe environment to work,” the SAD leader said.
Meanwhile, SAD’s women wing, the Istri Akali Dal demonstrated against the obnoxious behaviour of the cabinet minister and demanded his immediate dismissal from the government.
Lamenting that the CM was not taking strict action against the perpetrator of sexual harassment, the Istri Akali Dal district presidents from the state, led by Kuldeep Kaur Kang, demanded that the name of the cabinet minister should be immediately released so that the entire cabinet does not bear the brunt of being accused of serious allegations of sexual harassment.
“We demand exemplary action against the culprit so that a message goes loud and clear that sexual harassment of women will not be tolerated in the state,” said Kang district president of Istri Akali Dal Mohali.