sexual harassment

‘Parliament not immune to casting couch,’ says Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury

The leader said no work place was immune to sexual harassment, and that it was time India ‘stood up and said Me Too’.

Hours after choreographer Saroj Khan sparked a controversy on Tuesday by defending the “casting couch” practice in the film industry, Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury said it is prevalent across all sectors.

“Don’t imagine that Parliament is immune to it [casting couch], or other work places are immune to it,” she said, ANI reported. “It is not just in the film industry. It happens and it is the bitter truth.”

She added that it was “time India stood up and said Me Too”, referring to the popular movement that saw several women, many of them celebrities and in positions of power, raising awareness against sexual harassment, especially at workplaces.

Soon after, actor and general secretary of the Congress’ women’s wing Nagma also told News18 that sexual exploitation was prevalent in all fields.

Earlier on Tuesday, Saroj Khan appeared to defend the practice of casting couch in Bollywood when she claimed it was unfair to target the industry for the sexual exploitation of women as it happens everywhere.

“This has been going on for ages, it’s not new,” Khan said at a press conference in Maharashtra’s Sangli. “Someone or the other always tries to take advantage of girls. Government officials also do this, why are you only targeting the film industry? This industry provides livelihood at least – does not rape and abandon you.”

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