Ours is sadly turning out to be ‘No Country For Women’! The past month was a learning experience whereby whatever I learnt makes me very sad, disgusted and utterly hopeless. It mirrored the moral degeneration of our society, particularly the educated lot and also gave an insight of how self-centered we have become.
On March 12, 2017 I posted a story about ‘Sexual Harassment at Workplace’ at PLAZA PREMIUM LOUNGE (a MNC) in T3 at IGI Airport, New Delhi. The victims are two female employees of Plaza Premium Lounge who are of 20 and 21 years of age, respectively. The alleged sexual harasser is the General Manger of Plaza Premium Lounge, Francis Gill.
The victims of molestation and sexual harassment are NOT known to me. I have never met them. They approached me through an acquaintance of mine and I instantly promised to help in whatever little way I can. I have friends in high-places. Yes, I think they are my friends without benefits! I have friends who know all the top-cops of Delhi; powerful friends who know Cabinet Ministers in NDA Government; industrialist friends who are friends with other industrialists and tycoons and could have easily called the Founder and CEO of Plaza Premium Lounge – Song Hoi-see or Dinesh Jhunjhunwal, the MD of its Indian operations; have resourceful friends who have the private phone number of the owner of GMR on their speed-dial; friends who are top editors in newspapers and news channels, friends who are big-shot lawyers and famous people who appear on TV debates to debate passionately on Women’s Rights and Protection and friends who are feminists. I made an open appeal for help but got negligible response. Whenever I written something about some hot-shot that was not pleasant, I was flooded with calls to take the story off and sometimes was even offered bribes.
Few well-travelled, learned and respected people who I approached for assistance questioned my motive. They wanted to know why I wanted to help the victims. They wanted to know if I am related to the victims or I fancied one of the two 20-year-old-girls or if I had an agenda against the Plaza Premium Lounge and it’s owner or the accused sexual predator, Francis Gill. Some also asked how I was so sure that the girls were sexually harassed and not accusing the GM for ulterior gains. I wanted to help the victims to get an FIR registered, which the cops were suspiciously not doing. Once FIR is done, investigation happens and then law takes its course to find out the truth. Who are you and I to question if the victims are saying the truth. Law says the victims complaint has to be heard and FIR registered. Period!
Anyway after persistent struggle I got help and that too from women who I had given grief in this very website by posting unpleasant stories. I salute these ladies. Tanisha Mohan came forward and contacted the DCP, Airport and kept pursuing him against odds to get the victims’ complaint heard and FIR registered. On the 23rd of March 2017, Tanisha Mohan helped the victims to get their FIR registered. Thank You!
All that noise about law being strengthened for Women’s protection is a big farce. Vishaka Guidelines and ICC are blatantly disregarded in most organizations. In fact ICC more often than not supports the sexual harasser as often he/she is in position of power. In this case of Plaza Premium Lounge, as per law, the alleged sexual harasser should had been arrested post FIR and the Company should had suspended him with immediate effect. What happened in reality was that GM Francis Gill was tipped off so that he got himself admitted in a hospital to avoid arrest. The company has not suspended him. In fact he comes to office everyday and intimidate the victims. ICC has been making the victims go through hell by asking gory-details of sexual harassment in presence of many staff members. ICC is doing this for the past three days and making it embarrassing and unbearable for the victims. The agenda is simple – harass the victims so that they leave the company and amidst all this, the sexual predator openly intimidates the victims and mocks them by saying that he is so powerful that nobody can touch him..
I want to salute Sabaah S Sheikh. I gave her grief too, in my posts. Sabaah promptly got a fine lawyer, Sapna Chauhan who has fought similar cases. Sabaah also volunteered to bear the legal expenses. A big thank you!
Sapna Chauhan has come as a ray of hope to these two girls. She is taken this case on Pro-Bono basis. The police station was not providing the victims the copy of the FIR. Sapna got in action and FIR copies were given promptly. Thank a ton!
I don’t want to name and shame those who I approached and got no help bur sermon – “Bro don’t get involved in this.” Thanks but no thanks for your advise. Just be careful and do ensure that this sexual predator, Francis Gill is not present at the Plaza Premium Lounge when your own family members are awaiting there to board a flight.