Ganderbal: Central University of Kashmir (CUK) Vice Chancellor, Prof. Farooq Ahmad Shah Thursday called for taking proactive and stringent measures to check sexual harassment of women in the society, particularly at workplaces.
“Women facing sexual harassment have to break the taboo and courageously report the same to the law enforcement agencies so that the culprits are punished and a secure and safe environment is provided for their travel and working,” Prof. Farooq Ahmad Shah said while inaugurating an awareness programme on “Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace,” jointly organised by the varsity’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) and Women Empowerment Cell (WEC) at Green Campus here. The Vice Chancellor further said the sexual harassment complaints shall necessarily be disposed of in a time bound manner as it causes lot of distress to both the complainant and the accused. “In CUK, till date, the sexual harassment complaints have been addressed to the full satisfaction of the complainant,” Prof. Shah remarked. He said the university has been successful in providing a safe and secure work environment to the female employees.
In her keynote address, Dean School of Law, Benett University Noida, Prof. Nuzhat Parveen said the time has come for gender neutral laws. Prof. Parveen said the Constitution has guaranteed safeguarding the dignity of women, working in organised or unorganised sector and laws have been framed to provide her a secure and suitable environment for working. “If the laws aren’t implemented in letter and spirit, then the professional output of women at workplaces would be adversely affected,” she said, adding the sexual harassment has its roots in patriarchy which need immediate attention and subsequent redressal.
Addressing the gathering, Registrar, Prof. M Afzal Zargar, said the primary objective of ICC is not only to probe the complaints of sexual harassment, but also to organise awareness and sensitization programmes for the employees. “During these programmes women employees shall be encouraged to report any harassment so that necessary action under rules is taken,” Prof. Zargar said, adding, the laws can only be effective when such incidents are reported. Prof. Zargar asked the female employees to completely ignore the social stigma associated with it as it emboldens the involved individual.
Speaking on the occasion, Finance Officer, Prof. Fayaz A Nikka, deliberated threadbare on the role, functioning and mandate of ICC. Prof. Nika said the ICC not only has to redress the complaints about the sexual harassments, but has a much larger role to aware and sensitise the employees about their fundamental and constitutional rights as enshrined in the Constitution. “There has to be zero tolerance for sexual harassment cases in any institution and for that the stakeholders, both men and women have to be sensitised,” Prof. Nikka said.
Dean School of Life Sciences, Prof. Muhammad Yousuf in his address, asked the ICC to thoroughly scrutinize the complaints as there have been several instances wherein the allegations levelled have proven to be wrong. “After receiving the complaint, confidentiality has to be maintained about both the victim and the accused till the case is adjudicated,” he said. In her speech, former Controller of Examination and presently AAA, Prof. Parveen Pandit said, the ICC was constituted in CUK in 2014 following the guidelines on prevention and deterrence of sexual harassment at workplace as laid down by the Act. “The committee regularly organises sensitisation programmes like seminars, workshops, debates etc. to create and maintain an environment in the university that is gender sensitive and free from harassment,” she added. Vice Chancellor on the occasion also released a pamphlet about ICC.
During the technical session, Dean School of Law, AMU, Prof. M Waseem also gave an insight about the ways and means to counter sexual harassment.
ICC member secretary, Ms Gulafroz Jan made the welcome address, outlining the programme objectives and Asst Prof. Department of Zoology, Dr. Ibraq Khurshid proposed the vote of thanks.