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Assam Youth Congress President Angkita Dutta expelled after accusing harassment by IYC chief; sparks controversy

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The All India Congress Committee (AICC) has expelled Assam Pradesh Youth Congress (APYC) President Angkita Dutta from the primary membership of the party for six years due to her “anti-party activities,” effective immediately. This follows allegations by Dutta that she has been harassed by Indian Youth Congress (IYC) President Srinivas BV and his IYC secretary in-charge Vardhan Yadav for almost six months due to her gender. In her police complaint against Srinivas BV, Dutta accused him of persistent harassment and making sexist comments, as well as threatening her with dire consequences if she complained against him.

Angkita Dutta expelled from Congress

“Hon’ble Congress President has expelled Dr Angkita Dutta, President Congress Assam Pradesh Youth Congress, from the primary membership of the party, for six years, for her anti-party activities, with immediate effect,” read a statement released by the AICC on Saturday.

Responding to Dutta’s allegations, Srinivas BV sent a legal notice alleging defamation, claiming that Dutta has been “constantly talking trash, throwing shade and telling lies” about him on Twitter without proof. The notice further claimed that Dutta’s tweets were damaging to the reputation and respect of the Congress party leaders among the public. Srinivas BV also responded to the matter on Twitter, quoting an adage to suggest that Dutta’s accusations may be unfounded.

Dutta is the daughter of the late Anjan Dutta, who was an influential minister in the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government in Assam, and who headed the party’s state unit. She had previously accused Congress leaders, including Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi, of failing to take action against Srinivas BV.

Dutta’s complaint

In her police complaint, Dutta claimed that Srinivas BV had harassed her during a meeting in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, where he threatened to ruin her career in the Congress if she complained against him. Dutta alleged that she had informed high office-bearers of the Congress party about Srinivas BV’s behaviour but had received no response.

Dutta, in her complaint, stated, “Recently, on March 25, 2023, when I was in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, I went to Hotel May Fair in the evening to meet the office bearers of the Congress. Bhupen Borah, state president of Congress, was there for the plenary session. I ran into Srinivas BV there at the entrance of the hotel. He heckled me, holding my arm, pushing and pulling me and threatening me, using slang words, saying that he will ruin my career in the Congress if I complained against him before the high office-bearers of the party.”

Angkita Dutta expelled

Response from Congress

In response to the AICC’s decision to expel Dutta, some members of the Congress party have criticized the move, claiming that it was a result of internal politics and that the party has failed to take the allegations of sexual harassment seriously. Some have also questioned the Congress party’s commitment to gender equality and its willingness to address issues related to sexual harassment.

“You have been constantly talking trash, throwing shade and telling lies about Shri Srinivas B.V. from your Twitter account without ever having the slightest of proofs regarding the same thus trying to ruin the reputation of my client,” the notice reads.

“These posts are made without any scruple and thought as to the consequences of such derogatory remarks for the reputation and respect of the leaders amongst the public and your baseless tweet is nothing but would affect the citizens of this country,” it claims.

The incident has raised concerns about the prevalence of sexual harassment in Indian politics and the need for parties to address the issue more effectively. Some commentators have called for stronger measures to prevent sexual harassment, including mandatory training for politicians and party workers, and the establishment of an independent body to investigate complaints of sexual harassment within political parties.

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