A member of the Students Federation of India (SFI) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and a student at Jadavpur University, Atreyee Sengupta, has come forward with her account of sexual harassment within the organisations in a Facebook post. She mentions that although she has left the organisations, she isn’t sure if she officially remains a member of the two.
In the post, Sengupta has documented the harassment she suffered and the negligent attitude she met with when she informed her higher-ups about the matter. She mentions one Soumyajit Rajak who she claims has harassed her both physically and verbally. She says, “He has made me feel very uncomfortable in many occasions. His sexist and misogynist remarks about everyone in general and me, in particular, have left me infuriated every time. And every time I’ve protested against those remarks, I have been laughed at shamelessly and have been called “boddo beshi/otirikto/too feminist” and “baaje meye”. Not just that, he has even tried to ruin my political career in numerous ways just because of my outspoken nature. He has always seen me as his “Kochi maal” followed by “oke lagate chai” (I want to f*** her).”
Sengupta mentions Abhik Ghosh in her account as well who she claims told her to change the way she dresses. Then she mentions one Soham Chatterjee about whom she writes, “You did call some women derogatory terms like “M*LF” and also objectified their private parts. There were times when you made me feel uncomfortable. I don’t know if you’re aware of it or have realised it by now. I stopped coming to campus for like two weeks because of you.” She mentions one Sabauddin Khan as well who she calls a ‘potential rapist. She states, “CPIM worker, Sabauddin Khan, evidently has made me uncomfortable many a times. He is a potential rapist and had tried to touch me inappropriately sometime last year. His sexist stares still make me feel vulnerable.”
Prateek Das, Sengupta’s immediate leadership, was made aware of these complaints but preferred to not take any action. She was instead advised to focus on the ‘party reorganization’. “He did extend his support towards me but just to console me, but didn’t really take the matter up in any of the party meetings. He kept telling me that I should focus on the Party reorganisation thing and not pay heed to such people.”
Her experience in the organisations have been “extremely bitter”, Sengupta claims. She has stated that she will lodge a formal complaint with the SFI and the CPIM and believes an apology is owed to her by the SFI Kolkata District Committee and CPIM. She claims that on a previous instance of sexual harassment as well, the SFi did not come out in support of her.
Sengupta has stated that she would wait for a reply to her grievances and complaints, failing which she will pursue legal action.