The workers protested as no action has been taken against a contractor accused of sexual harassment, even 10 days after the incident.

Bluru civic workers say no action taken over sexual harassment claims stage protest
news Civic Issues Thursday, October 26, 2017 - 09:30

Civic workers who keep Bengaluru’s streets clean staged a protest at the BBMP headquarters on Wednesday afternoon, after no action was taken against a contractor accused of sexual and physical harassment.

The pourakarmikas, a majority of which are women, withdrew their stir only after Mayor Sampath Raj assured that the contractor who is now absconding, will be blacklisted. The Mayor also assured that their salary dues for the last three months will be paid immediately. 

On October 12, Dalit pourakarmikas were allegedly sexually harassed and greeted with casteist slurs by the KR Puram contractor Nagesh, when they had asked for their pending salaries. 

“It’s in my pants, come and get it,” Nagesh had allegedly told the victims when they asked for their salary dues, and also threatened the workers with rape.

A complaint was then registered at the KR Puram Police Station and the BBMP Sexual Harassment Committee. The Karnataka Social Welfare Department were also intimated by the BBMP Gutteige Pourakarmika Sangha.

When the accused came to know about the police complaint against him, he allegedly gathered a few local thugs and attempted to threaten the civic workers on October 19. Two workers were injured after they were hit with iron rods, the Sangha said.

The Sangha resorted to protests after no action was taken by the BBMP even after 10 days. The Sangha also demanded that BBMP implement the Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, in letter and spirit and conduct an enquiry into the complaints filed by pourakarmikas besides creating a safe working place for the pourakarmikas.

“The protest was also to highlight the failure of the BBMP to remove the contract system and implement direct payment of wages to workers, despite the orders of the state government to do so, which has put the workers at grave risk and at the receiving end of sexual, verbal and physical abuse at the hands of the contractors and their henchmen,” the Sangha said in its statement. 

“Why has not a single BBMP official or elected representative apologised to the workers for what has happened?” the Sangha asked.

Following multiple protests and demonstrations, the state government in 2016, had declared that all pourakarmikas will be brought under the government payroll by March 2017. But as of June 2017, only 5,500 out of over 20,000 workers, have been made part of the BBMP payrolls.Civic workers who keep Bengaluru’s streets clean staged a protest at the BBMP headquarters on Wednesday afternoon, after no action was taken against a contractor accused of sexual and physical harassment.

The pourakarmikas, a majority of which are women, withdrew their stir only after Mayor Sampath Raj assured that the contractor who is now absconding, will be blacklisted. The Mayor also assured that their salary dues for the last three months will be paid immediately. 

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