Pachauri’s leave means nothing: Women activists

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New Delhi, Feb 12 (IANS) Even as TERI sent sexual harassment accused R.K. Pachauri on an indefinite leave, women rights activists said it is too little too late as he still retains his post.

Pachauri, who had been the head of the institute since 1982, was accused of sexually harassing a 29-year-old female colleague in 2015, and has fresh charges levelled against him by another The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) employee this week.

Senior lawyer Vrinda Grover, who has been vocal in the case, said that the action “does not mean anything”.

“Pachauri’s leave doesn’t mean anything as he still holds the posts. He retains his office as the chancellor (of TERI University) and it is illegal and he needs to be removed by the Human Resource Development Ministry and by the varsity board,” Grover told IANS.

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“Sending him on leave doesn’t make it tenable… He (Pachauri) cannot hold that office. The authorities will have to remove him. It is not his discretion if he holds that position or doesn’t,” she said.

Vanani, a woman activist from Delhi-based non-governmental organisation Saheli, echoed similar views.

“Sending him on a leave is not the solution. They have done this before back in 2015. The responsibility they (TERI) have towards the law, towards the women in their workplace in their university is completely unacceptable,” Vahini told IANS.

“It is shameful. If TERI governing body can’t take action against him, what do you think the situation of the woman complainant is going to be? It is outrageous.”

Kalyani Menon of Women Against Sexual Violence said it was “sad to see that none from the energy sector took a stand on the issue”.

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“They must punish him, not reward him.”

“The complainant and her colleagues were hounded. This shows that the internal culture in TERI is toxic,” she said.

People from various women’s rights group staged a protest in front of the TERI office here on Friday against Pachauri.

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