V. Shanmuganathan: What went wrong with him and Sangh Parivar – his dialogue with varied groups failed him? (2)

V. Shanmuganathan: What went wrong with him and Sangh Parivar – his dialogue with varied groups failed him? (2)

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The complaint letter sent to the President of India: The five-page letter signed by 98 workers / nearly 100 employees of the Governor’s House in Shillong[1] – widely circulated on social media –  on Wednesday (25-01-2017)[2], lists a series of misdemeanours including sexual misconduct and “torture and humiliation” of officers and staff[3]. “From the time he has taken over, employees are going through severe humiliation, mental stress and torture,” the employees write. The 67-year-old was accused of hiring or posting only women in his staff and turning the Raj Bhavan into a place where “young ladies come and go at will with direct orders from the governor.” The letter said[4]: “His activities hurt the decorum and prestige of the Raj Bhavan as well as the sentiments of the Raj Bhavan employees who are very much attached to the Raj Bhavan, it becomes our concern. From the time he has taken over, the employees are going through severe humiliation, mental stress and torture.”  The 11 point-letter stated[5] the Governor has “appointed two public relations officers, a cook and a nurse on night duty, all of whom are women”. The staff alleged that the Governor “selected only girls” to work for him and shifted the male official private secretary to his secretariat[6].

shanmuganathan-megalya-governor-resigned-amit-shah-sealed-his-fateCircumstances forced him to resign on the Republic Day: The Governor has also been accused in recent media reports of sexually harassing a woman who had gone to him for the post of Public Relations Officer. Mr Shanmughanathan was appointed Governor of Meghalaya in 2015 by the central government. He is expected to fly to Delhi 27-01-2017. “Till now there are no statements from any women. Facts should be looked into before commenting,” Nalin Kohli, spokesperson of the ruling BJP, said. Protests by civil society groups erupted on the streets of Shillong yesterday as Republic Day was being celebrated. “The Governor should step down. We want impartial probe into sexual harassment in the governor’s house,” said Tarun Bharatiya, one of the protesters. Three aides of the Meghalaya Raj Bhavan were ssacked on Saturday (28-01-2017), an official said . The three officials — public relation officers Chinmoyee Deka and Emdorini Thangkhiew, and private secretary Saurav Pandey – were appointed during the former governor’s tenure[7]. “They were appointed on contractual basis and their jobs were co-terminus with the governor’s tenure. After his resignation, they were asked to quit,” said HM Sangpliang, the secretary to the governor[8].

v-shanmughanathan-high-land-post-24-01-2017Shanmuganathan has denied the allegations:  As per the media report, the victim alleged that the Governor had a personal interview with her on the night of December 8, 2016 for the post of public relations officer and made “inappropriate advances” after he personally called her to attend the interview[9].  What irked the victim was the alleged ‘unprofessional and unfriendly’ behaviour of the Governor. She was one of the seven candidates selected for the personal interview. When asked if he met the candidates separately or in a group, the Governor admitted that he met some candidates separately as well as in a group[10]. But he denied calling one of the candidates from a personal number and asking her to come after 6pm. “I wanted to meet them (the job aspirants) before finalising the candidates and they all came. Everyone was there for half an hour. I have got great respect for everyone. I have not done anything wrong,” he said.
Shanmuganathan also rebutted the allegations that he made physical overtures or inappropriately complemented the girl. “No it is not right… all these things are not right… we have selected only one person and some people were not selected and because they were not selected they should not say all these things,” the Governor said.
Though the victim has not filed any FIR, when contacted, DGP SB Singh told the media that the matter was referred to the Government and legal opinion is being sought.

vs-encouraging-different-women-grooupsShanmuganathan was encouraging different women groups: Women activists from nine organizations  had sought the State Governor’s intervention to ensure that the KHADC’s Village Administration Bill (VAB) 2015, which is awaiting his assent, is ‘gender-just’ and fulfils the rights of women as guaranteed by the Indian constitution. A delegation of women representatives from the nine organizations met Governor V Shanmuganathan on Tuesday (Jume 24, 2015) and submitted a memorandum seeking his intervention on the issue[11]. “We request the Governor to intervene in this matter so as to ensure that the VAB 2015 does not become a law without ensuring that the Khasi-Jaintia women are considered as full members of the existing institutions of local self government at the village level,” the memorandum said. According to the memorandum, the KHAD (Village Administration) Bill 2015, passed by the KHADC both in its intent and drafting, suffers from a lack of clarity regarding the rights of women. The women groups further said that the VAB must ensure real devolution of power to Ki Khun Ki Hajar or the people at the village level besides a transparent and accountable democratic self-government that is structurally and financially independent. “This is unfortunate because both in the past and in the present day, practices in these traditional institutions have been varied and have evolved over time,” the memorandum said adding  “This means that in some areas women attend the dorbar meetings while in others, they are given representation in the executive body.” The women groups also opposed section 2(18), Section 6 and section 8 of the Bill that denies women their rights as full members of the Dorbar and demand that amendments be made before the Bill becomes a law. The Bill is designed without much thought to the governance issues at the village level. It does not clearly lay out the lines of responsibility, institutional structures or for that matter even systems of accountability,” the memorandum said[12]. It is not known as to BJP or the appointed Governor knew the nuances of the demands that were made on the lines of other groups like TUR or RAIOT.

tur-beef-and-bjpVS’s dialogue with the radical groups failed: Shanmuganathan was having dialogue with different radical, extreme and seperatist groups after resuming office on May 12, 2015. Who advised him to do so was not clear, however, some overenthusiatic Sanghparivar ideologists without any proper understanding of Northeast politics, anti-national activities, seperatist forces operating under different banners etc., had urged him to have dialogue with them. The first visit of BJP national president Amit Shah to Shillong on Wednesday (April 22, 2015) was greeted with a mixed bag of the HNLC sponsored 12-hours bandh and a ‘beef party’ with placards mocking him sprinkled with songs, dance and music organized by Thma U Rangli Juki (TUR) to protest against what it has termed as the BJP’s ‘hate campaign’[13]. TUR organized the beef party which was held about 10 meters away from BJP’s office in Lachumiere on Wednesday[14]. The Hynniewtrep National People’s Front (HNPF) and Khasi National Union (KNU) members were also seen taking part in the TUR’s public forum[15]. Heavy security was deployed in the vicinity and policemen had a harrowing time stopping those who attempted to take a protest march to the State’s Conventional Hall, where Shah addressed party members[16]. TUR and the other NGO members intended to throw a beef party in front of the Convention Hall to protest against the BJP promotion of a ban on beef and its alleged atrocities on minorities and Christians. “We are here to protest the coming of Amit Shah as he ‘symbolizes’ the BJP.” Why BJP alone is targeted by the radical groups is intriguing, when Congress has been accepted there.

© Vedaprakash

30-01-2017

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[1] The Hindusthan Times, Rude’ Meghalaya governor Shanmuganathan resigns amid molestation charges, Updated: Jan 27, 2017 10:51 IST

[2] http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/meghalaya-guv-shanmuganathan-facing-sexual-harassment-charges-resigns-reports/story-ovqHxU7CHtdUj4HwO2Vw5J.html

[3] NDTV, Meghalaya Governor V Shanmuganathan Resigns After ‘Young Ladies Club’ Controversy, Updated: January 27, 2017 19:39 IST.

[4] http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/meghalaya-governor-v-shanmuganathan-resigns-after-ladies-club-controversy-1653124

[5] The First post, Molestation case: President Mukhejee accepts Meghalaya governor V. Shanmuganathan’s resignation, FP Staff, Jan, 27 2017 15:57:09 IST.

[6] http://www.firstpost.com/india/president-mukherjee-accepts-meghalaya-governor-v-shanmuganathans-resignation-3223540.html

[7] The Hindusthan Times, After Shanmuganathan’s resignation, 3 Meghalaya Raj Bhawan staff shown the door, Updated: Jan 28, 2017 20:46 IST.

[8] http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/after-shanmuganathan-s-resignation-3-meghalaya-raj-bhawan-staff-shown-the-door/story-9BEfZYRM7jBdWliM5bn7QJ.html

[9] The Shillong Times, Guv denies molestation charge; Cops approach govt, BY OUR REPORTER | WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2017.

[10] http://www.theshillongtimes.com/2017/01/25/guv-denies-molestation-charge-cops-approach-govt/

[11] The Shillong Times, Demand for a women-friendly VAB gains momentum, BUREAU | WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 2015.

[12] http://www.theshillongtimes.com/2015/06/24/demand-for-a-women-friendly-vab-gains-momentum/

[13] Meghalaya Times, Amit Shah was invited with beef party, Aprul 12, 2015.

[14] http://www.meghalayatimes.info/index.php/front-page/29602-tur-holds-beef-party-to-greet-amit-shah

[15] Indian Today, Amit Shah welcomed with a beef party in Meghalaya, New Delhi, April 22, 2015 | UPDATED 11:35 IST.

[16] http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/amit-shah-welcomed-with-a-beef-party-in-meghalaya/1/431640.html

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