Pb govt’s stand on minister's 'inappropriate text' to woman officer sought

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Chandigarh, May 17 (PTI) The Punjab women panel chief on Monday threatened to go on a hunger strike if the state government fails to apprise her within a week of its stand on an “inappropriate text” message allegedly sent by a minister to an officer in 2018.

Punjab Women Commission chairperson Manisha Gulati said she has written to Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan, seeking the government’s action taken report on Punjab Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s “inappropriate text” to a woman IAS officer.

Besides threatening with a hunger strike, Gulati said she could also move court or approach the Congress high command if she fails to get the government’s response on the issue within a week.

Gulati claimed she took up the over two-year-old matter amid some IAS officers questioning her over the status of the matter and even accusing her of supporting the minister, even though, she said, she has never even met the minister “A group of IAS officers have been calling me, accusing me of not doing justice in the matter. They have also been asking me what I have done on the issue,” Gulati said, claiming that she had written to even the then chief secretary for a reply in this matter.

Asked about the timing of her action of seeking the government’s stand over a two-year-old matter, Gulati asserted the woman panel is empowered to take action in any matter even after ten years.

Admitting that the state woman panel had received no complaint on the issue, she said the commission can even summon the victim officer to have her say on the issue.

On being asked, she said she can even issue notice to the erring minister.

Channi had earlier sided with a group of Congress MLAs and a minister to question the alleged delay in the 2015 sacrilegious incident involving torn pages of the Guru Granth Sahib in Faridkot and subsequent police firing on protesters killing two of them.

Following the 2018 allegation that Channi had sent an “inappropriate text” message to the woman officer, the Punjab Women Commission had taken suo motu cognisance of the matter and had sought the government’s stand even then.

At that time, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had asked Channi to tender an apology to the woman officer and had said he believed the matter has been “resolved” to her satisfaction. PTI CHS VSD RAX RAX

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