In the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, Leena Doley, who serves as the Additional Superintendent of Police (APS) in Assam, has taken to Facebook to talk about workplace harassment meted out to her by a senior official.
She says she is going to take her "fight to the next level" after she failed to get justice from the enquiry commitee set up under Vishakha guidelines in the year 2012.
Doley, an officer from the 2002 batch of the Assam State Public Service, has said through her post that Mukesh Agrawal, IPS, currently serving as the Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) in Assam, had sexually harassed her. The post also highlighted how her complaint was dismissed and called a 'sheer misunderstanding' by the enquiry committee set up afterwards.
At the time of the incident, Doley was serving as Additional Superintendent of Police, Dial 100, Police Control Room, Guwahati city, while Agrawal, an IPS officer from the 1989 batch, was Inspector General of Police (Logistics).
In her complaint to the office of the Director General of Police (DGP), which was later referred to the office of the Chief Secretary, Doley had stated that on 13 March, 2012, after the inauguration of the Dial 100 project at the office of the Director General of Police, Assam, which was also attended by Agrawal, Doley visited his office to discuss a work-related matter. The senior officer, on finding her alone in his office, suggested that she go with him on a vacation.
After a verbal complaint made to the office of the DG the same day, Doley, on 15 March " two days after the incident " had filed a written complaint too. A committee was set up as per Vishakha Guidelines regarding the complaint, but the complaint was dismissed.
She wrote, "My case was dismissed as a misunderstanding, although the perpetrator himself admitted to what he did. The perpetrator had asked me to accompany him to a holiday destination, without, of course, telling my husband."
Doley, who feels that the #MeToo campaign has given her the "opportunity to tell her the story in her words", said that six months after filing the complaint, her husband committed suicide by shooting himself. "Even at the time of the incident, I did not speak to the media" said the officer. According to her, the media reports were quite distorted and incorrect.
The death of Nitolpal Lahon, Doley's husband, was said to be linked to the harassment. A case of unnatural death was registered at the Jalukbari Police station in Guwahati.
"My husband committed suicide after about six months of my submitting complaint against Mukesh Agrawal. Following which, the Enquiry Officer, Emily Choudhury, IAS, the then Additional Chief Secretary of Assam, came to my house right away to assure me that my husband's death was not due to the complaint," her post read.
"I didn't react " I was beyond any reaction. But the enquiry procedures had not started till then," she further wrote. Doley hopes that the #MeToo movement continues to fight workplace harassment as she is "up for the second phase of fight for justice."
Syeda Ambia Zahan is Guwahati based freelance writer and a member of 101Reporters, a Pan-India network of grassroots reporters