The Tamil Nadu government’s home department on Wednesday set up a six-member inquiry committee to look into a sexual harassment complaint by a woman police officer against Special Director General of Police (law and order) Rajesh Das, The News Minute reported.
Jayashree Raghunandan, the secretary of planning and development department of the state, has been named the presiding officer of the committee, according to The Hindu. Apart from Raghunandan, IPS officers Seema Agarwal, A Arun, VK Ramesh Babu, B Shamoondeswari and Loretta Jhona of the International Justice Mission, are part of the committee.
“The committee shall take necessary further course of action as per the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 on the said complaint,” stated the order issued by Home Secretary SK Prabakar.
The complainant accused Das of behaving inappropriately with her in his vehicle, according to The News Minute. The incident reportedly took place while the woman was on duty during Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami’s visit to some districts in central Tamil Nadu, The Hindu reported. Following the complaint, Das has been excluded from meetings related to security cover for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Coimbatore on Thursday, NDTV reported, quoting unidentified officials in the office of the director general of police.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Kanimozhi tweeted on the incident criticising the state government. “The protector also needs protection during ADMK [Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam] rule,” she tweeted. “When a woman IPS officer is sexually harassed by a higher ranked officer and the CM takes no notice of it, what hope do ‘ordinary’ women have in this regime?”
DMK chief and Leader of the Opposition in the state MK Stalin accused the ruling party of “shielding such officers” and called it shameful. “It is a shame that the government shields such officers,” he said, according to NDTV. This is [the] peak of ugliness... a reflection of arrogance. I bow my head to the woman officer for her courage.”