Women and civil rights groups support ‘Kashmiri Women’s Resistance Day’ to be observed on 23 February and condemn Congress party’s leniency towards MLA Shabir Khan who has been brought up on charges of sexual harassment
By Team FI
Women’s and civil rights groups have condemned the Jammu & Kashmir government and the State Congress leadership on its “lenient attitude” towards the charges of sexual harassment made against the former health minister and Congress MLA, Shabir Khan.
Shabir Khan was accused of molesting a female doctor and was booked under Sections 354 and 509 of the Ranbir Penal Code. Though forced to resign on February 7, 2014, the fact remains that he is out on bail and since he is still an MLA, continues to attend assembly sessions. A press statement issued by the groups allege that this has jeopardised the investigation citing as an example the recent transfer of the SHO in charge of the investigating the case.
As per the charges in the case, the complainant was repeatedly asked to meet the Minister in his office so as to discuss the funding for health centre where she works. Her refusal to do so resulted in her being asked to report to him. She was made to sit in a small cabin where instead of funding, the Minister allegedly offered favours “including a plum posting on the condition that she should “serve Kehwa to him in the circuit house”- a statement clearly loaded with suggestive phrases. When she tried to leave the room, “the minister made physical advances amounting to molestation”,” informed the letter.
The letter called for the immediate expulsion of Shabir Khan from the Congress Party and called upon Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to ensure a fair trial.
The petitioners also lent their support to the Kashmiri Women’s Resistance Day, which will be observed by the civil rights groups in Jammu & Kashmir in remembrance of the alleged Kunan Poshpora mass rape by the Army personnel on 23rd Feb, 1991 for which not a single army man has yet been punished.