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IYC Row: Angkita Dutta Alleges Gendered Harassment; 'Defamation' Says Srinivas

Angkita Dutta has accused IYC national president Srinivas BV of gender-based harassment and discrimination.

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Assam unit chief of Indian Youth Congress, Angkita Dutta, wrote a series of tweets on Tuesday, 18 April, accusing IYC national president Srinivas BV and IYC national secretary Vardhan Yadav of gender-based harassment and discrimination.

"How can a sexist and chauvinistic lead @IYC torture and demean a woman every single time. What happened to @priyankagandhi ladki hoon ladk Shakti hoon?" she wrote.

Dutta claimed that she had intimated senior party leaders of her alleged harassment and alleged that they refused to take any action.

"Despite my complaints, no enquiry committee has been initiated against @srinivasiyc Is this the safe space @RahulGandhi talks about women @priyankagandhi," she alleged.

"I have kept quiet for months waiting for them to take action against him yet no one seem interested. @srinivasiyc in the guise of his PR, is getting away with all kind of wrong doings," she wrote in another tweet.

Dutta alleged that she had apprised Rahul Gandhi of the harassment she was facing during the Kashmir leg of his Bharat Jodo Yatra and that no action was taken against Srinivas.

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In an interview with news agency ANI on, she alleged, "Vardhan Yadav do not know how to respect women. He has been addressing me as 'ae ladki,' not as Angkita Dutta or president. I have complained this to the leadership. There has still not been an inquiry committee against Vardhan Yadav for talking to me like that."

Talking about Srinivas BV, she alleged, "During the Raipur plenary session, while I was going inside Mayfair and Srinivasji was coming out, Srinivasji told me tum kya pi ke message karta hai? (what do you drink and text?), kya pita hai tu? (what do you drink?), vodka pita hai kya? (do you drink vodka?). I was appalled that IYC president was talking to a female state president like that."

On the claims going around that she plans to quit the Indian National Congress and join the Bharatiya Janata Party, she stated that her grandfather, father and herself have been committed Congress members. "We don't want to leave the party. (If) they want to throw us out, throw us out. But we love the party," she said.

Srinivas responded to Dutta's allegations by sharing a quote on Twitter, "When one person makes an accusation, check to be sure he himself is not the guilty one. Sometimes it is those whose case is weak who make the most clamour."

He also shared an older tweet by Dutta wishing him on his birthday.

"Happy Birthday to the charismatic leader and a true inspiration for the youth of our country Srinivas BV. You are the person who consistently leads Youth Congress towards success and many great triumphs. I'm wishing you many more great years of making great impacts @srinivasiyc," she had tweeted on 7 November 2022.

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Diversionary Tactics by the BJP: Srinivas BV

Srinivas also accused the BJP of indulging in diversionary tactics.

"Sorry for not being able to answer BJP and their sponsored stooges earlier because of the marathon election campaign in Karnataka, where BJP is all set to lose badly. No diversion can save the BJP in the state of Karnataka," he wrote.

Meanwhile, Srinivas, through IYC Legal Cell, has sent a defamation notice to Dutta.

"This legal notice is being issued in pursuance to a series of tweets, replies, retweets etc. and other statements issued by you towards and in relation to Shri Srinivas B.V., National President, IYC wherein you have resorted to using utterly unparliamentary, undignified, defamatory, malicious words against Shri Srinivas B.V. and have leveled totally sexist, chauvinistic, false, frivolous allegations against him," the notice reads.

In the notice, it has also been accused that Dutta is in constant touch with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and is planning to join the BJP.

"It is also a matter of public knowledge that your name has come up in Sarada Chit Scam Fund and in ED/ PMLA cases. It is also reliably learnt that you are in constant touch with Mr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, CM of Assam and you have been undertaking this exercise of maligning and defaming simply to create an atmosphere of leaving the Congress Party with an objective to join the BJP, the ruling dispensation at the State and the Centre and consequently to have a closure of these cases. The entire exercise of publicly maligning and defaming Mr. Srinivas B.V. is politically motivated, and is totally false."
– Notice by Indian Youth Congress Legal Case
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Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women has taken cognisance of the matter and written to the Assam Police.

"NCW India has taken cognizance of the matter. Chairperson Rekha Sharma has written to DGP Assam to look into the matter and conduct an inquiry into the allegations in a fair and time-bound manner. A detailed report must be apprised. Meanwhile, NCW will also be inquiring into the matter," it wrote on Twitter.

A person close to Srinivas BV told Quint Hindi, "Angkita contested for the post of Assam Youth Congress president in 2018 and lost. Before that she contested for Lok Sabha Youth Congress president, but then too she lost. But, when the previous Assam Youth Congress president's term ended, Srinivas BV promoted Angkita and made her President of Assam in November 2021. At that time, Angkita was the State Vice President of Youth Congress at that time. Further, on the recommendation of the IYC, she had got ticket to the Amguri assembly constituency where she lost."

On Dutta's allegation that the senior leadership of the Congress didn't act, the source close to Srinivas told Quint Hindi, "A committee was constituted after Angkita's complaint. The committee had asked her to go to Delhi to give her statement in March. However, she didn't go. She informed that the doctor has advised her 45 days of bed rest. In the same month, she went to meet Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma. What message does this give? It's clear that the accusations are politically motivated. She meets Himanta Biswa Sarma in March and levels her allegations in April."

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