Speaking exclusively to The Quint, advocate Rizwan Siddiquee confirms that he has filed a third-party application to the Mumbai Police, requesting an FIR against TVF founder and CEO Arunabh Kumar on charges of sexual harassment. The women who have alleged harassment have welcomed the complaint and say they are glad that this issue has now gone beyond mere social media outrage.
Both TVF and Arunabh Kumar are yet to respond to the filing of the complaint and the imminence of a police probe.
The complaint lists IPC sections 354 and 509, which refer to unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures, a demand or request for sexual favours and insulting the modesty of a woman.
'Filed Complaint So That the Police Is Forced to Act'
Speaking to The Quint, advocate Rizwan Siddiquee explains what prompted him to approach the police.
“The police were showing their helplessness, asking what they could do since the women alleging sexual harassment by Arunabh Kumar have not filed a police complaint so far.”
An FIR is not needed. The police can very well file the FIR. I decided to take the onus of filing a third-party complaint because the police cannot be allowed to shun their responsibility by saying that no one complained. They have to conduct a probe.
The Quint has published accounts of several women who have come forward to allege that TVF CEO Arunabh Kumar sexually harassed them.
Glad That This Has Gone Beyond Social Media Outrage: Victims React
The Quint reached out to the women who have alleged being sexually harassed by Kumar.
I am happy that this has happened, because usually in these cases, there is social media outrage, but then eventually it goes away and the one who is responsible still enjoys the paparazzi. I hope justice is served.Woman alleging sexual harassment by Arunabh Kumar
Welcoming the complaint, another alleged victim told The Quint,
I welcome the fact that the police will now be forced to probe the allegations. This is a welcome example to many men who are sexually harassing women and getting away with it. This should act as a deterrent to such people. If a third person has gone and filed a complaint, it shows how much this issue has affected people. Rizwan Siddiquee is a very senior lawyer and he will make sure that action is taken. I am hopeful that justice will be served in the matter, this is only the first step.
Yet another woman, who has also alleged being sexually harassed by Kumar, says
We really want the police to carry out a thorough investigation, and with the sensitivity that this case deserves. I can’t stress enough how important it is for this investigation to be carried out with sensitivity so that the victims do not feel vulnerable.
The fourth alleged victim to respond to news of the police complaint, wrote to The Quint saying,
Finally! The first step is taken. I’m happy that people have started realising and standing up for the cause. The fact that it’s a third party complaint shows how others felt after hearing the issue. I urge more girls to gather courage and come out as it will only make the case stronger.
Complaint Filed With the Maharashtra Women's Commission as Well
A human rights activist has filed a complaint on the matter with the State Women’s Commission as well. Speaking to The Quint, the activist explained the reason for his complaint.
The Women’s Commission had asked the concerned women to come forward and file complaints. My complaint to the Commission was to remind them that they can take up the matter suo moto because the allegations are in the public domain.
The following is a copy of the complaint accessed by The Quint.
Police Probe Imminent?
The Quint has contacted both The Viral Fever and its founder Kumar for their response to the filing of the police complaint. This article will be updated as and when they respond.
TVF core team member Nidhi Bisht had recently announced that the company was going to conduct an internal probe into the allegations.
Today’s complaint by lawyer Rizwan Siddiquee makes a police probe seem imminent as well.
(Correction: An earlier version of this story mentioned that an FIR had been filed against Arunabh Kumar based on the complainant’s reaction. This has now been corrected to reflect that a police complaint has been filed at the moment.)