National Library refuses to provide sexual abuse report

National Library

The National Library authorities in Kolkata have refused to provide the details of action taken in cases of alleged sexual harassment inside the Library premises to a major staff union of the organisation.

The development comes nearly eight months after the National Library Employee’s Association (NLEA) wrote to the PMO regarding the cases of alleged sexual harassment in the premises of National Library and Central Reference Library (CRL) in Kolkata. 

Soon after the PMO asked the Ministry of Culture (MoC) to provide the related information to NLEA. CRL, however, has not provide the information to the staff union and so NLEA has decided to lodge a complaint to the MoC in this regard.
 
Responding to the MoC’s instructions the National Library authorities in a recent letter to the MoC stated that the points raised by the NLEA have been already clarified by the office of Chairman of the Committee against sexual harassment of women and the Committee sent a report in this regard to the MoC.
 
However, it refused to provide a copy of the report to NLEA arguing that as per the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act, 2013 any information regarding cases of sexual harassment cannot be publicised.
 
“The copy of this report cannot be supplied to the Association because as per the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act, 2013 any information regarding any case of sexual harassment should not be publicised,” stated the National Library authorities in its letter to the MoC.
 
Secretary of NLEA Shantanu Bhowmik told DH, “We will lodge a complaint with the MoC. The National Library authorities refused to provide the related information citing the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act, 2013) but is mum on how providing the information to us will violate the Act.” In his letter to the MoC, Bhowmik listed four incidents of alleged sexual harassment at National Library and one at CRL.

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