A day after TNM reported on the housekeeping staff at NIFT Hyderabad who lost their jobs after accusing an employee of sexual harassment, all 56 women have been reinstated to work from Thursday. The women were protesting against the alleged sexual harassment they faced at the hands of D Srinivas Reddy, who is still working as a stenographer in the NIFT campus.
The group was led by their supervisor, Ratna Kumari, who first filed a complaint with the cops against the accused last October. Speaking to TNM, Kumari said that she got a call from the agency contractor on Wednesday afternoon asking all the women staffers to return to the campus on Thursday.
“We all have now returned to the campus and are continuing with our duties. As of now, our jobs seem to be safe. But none of the authorities from NIFT have approached us yet. We have learnt that Srinivas Reddy is also here and is currently in a meeting with the director,” Parveen, a woman staffer told TNM.
TNM has also learnt from sources close to the Internal Complaints Committee that that the director general of NIFT has come down to Hyderabad from Delhi and an ICC meeting will be constituted on Thursday to look into the matter.
After the women protested against Srinivas Reddy, NIFT authorities had floated a new tender which demanded the contractor to terminate all the existing workers on the campus and deploy a new workforce.
Murali, the contractor, told TNM that he has been verbally promised by the state labour commissioner to make the tender invalid and ensure that all the women are back in their jobs at NIFT. Also, the existing contract will be valid for the next two years, he added.
Trouble brewed in the campus after the women staffers filed a complaint against Srinivas last October, accusing him of sexual harassment. Srinivas used to allegedly take pictures of the women without their consent and would ask them to sleep with him. Unable to bear the harassment, 2-3 women had quit their jobs in the past year.
After the case surfaced, the women were continuously threatened by NIFT authorities to compromise in order to safeguard their jobs. To ensure the women did not remain on campus, the authorities picked faults with their work and alleged that the staff were lethargic. They further floated a tender with an additional clause to ensure that a new workforce was deployed in the campus.
Despite multiple attempts to reach out to the NIFT authorities on the issue, a response has not been received.