Despite Multiple Sexual Harassment Complaints, No Action Taken Against Bengaluru Flying School Instructor
- IWB Post
- December 6, 2018
The #MeToo movement has helped many women come out with their stories of sexual abuse. In yet another case, a story has surfaced from Bengaluru’s government flying training school. Deepti (name changed), a 19-year-old Dalit girl, shared with The News Minute that how she was sexually harassed and molested by her training instructor during the sessions.
It all started “when I joined the academy last year, it was through a scholarship because I am a Dalit student. Initially, Amarjit’s (training instructor) way of talking to students made me uncomfortable. He had my phone number and he would message me on WhatsApp. I just not reply a lot,” says Deepti.
Over time, Amarjit started following her everywhere and he knew whom she met and spoke to. “If I went out to a restaurant or a café with a few male friends, he would get jealous and send me accusatory messages. He had assumed that I owed him something. I was just too scared that he would mess with my training. Once he saw me with one of our batchmates at a restaurant. The next day, my friend was benched. He was not allowed to trains,” reveals Deepti.
Things only got worse for her when she was sexually harassed in the aircraft during her training sessions. “When we are up in the air during training sessions, there is literally a few inches gap between my seat and the trainer’s. He would begin caressing me and touching me inappropriately. He knew I couldn’t do anything because flying is not easy. When something like this happens while you are in an aircraft, you begin to priorities and I chose to ensure that it was all over quickly so we could just land,” shares Deepti.
The complaint against Amarjit revealed that he specifically targeted the Dalit and Adivasi students and he frequently asked them whether “they want anything for free”.
Among many other complaints against him, a few screenshots of his conversations were shared with TNM that read “I will give you Rs 1 crore if you come to the bedroom with me”.
The complaints from the students were shared with Amit Sobit, who is also a flying instructor at the academy. Since no action was taken by the institute, Amit Sobti submitted a complaint at the Amruthahalli Police Station and also DCP North East Kala Krishnaswamy in November 2017, but no FIR was filed. According to Amruthahalli Sub Inspector Manjunath, “Amit Sobti had submitted a 41-page complaint on behalf of the women. If we have to investigate, we need to at least know the identity of one woman who is willing to file the complaint. We had assured them that their names would not be made public but the women were too scared. So we could not register an FIR.”
When Amarjit got to know that Amit Sobti was involved in the complaint, he fired him. Soon after, another instructor came out to help these women. Now, Nagalakshmi Bai, the Chairman of the Karnataka Women’s Commission, is looking into the matter and has asked for some evidence so that she could take action. “Only one man has come and filed a complaint. None of the girls have come forward yet. In a couple of days we will take cognizance of the complaint after I receive the screenshots of the messages,” says Nagalakshmi Bai.
The Dalit women shared that they were scared to disclose their identities because they come from conservative families from small towns. Also, it’s not easy to get a scholarship as a Dalit student and their complaint could lead them to lose the opportunity as Amarjit could destroy their careers.
H/T: The News Minute