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Rights groups back pregnant scribe asked to resign
Staff Reporter
 GUWAHATI, May 23 - A number of organisations and women’s rights groups have come out in support of the Guwahati-based woman journalist who was allegedly made to resign from a private news channel on account of her pregnancy.

After the incident came to light through various social media platforms, several rights groups have written to the channel’s management demanding restoration of the journalist’s rights with immediate effect.

North East Network and Asom Mahila Sangha in a joint communiqué to the managing director of the news channel have stated that such an act violates the rights and entitlements of working women as envisaged in the Constitution of India and the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961.

“It has come to our knowledge through various social media portals and posts that the woman journalist who was working with your channel for more than a decade, has been asked to resign from her position on account of her pregnancy.

“We urge you to inquire into the matter with immediate effect and restore her rights. We are also informed that on earlier occasions, women have continued with their services in your office after childbirth. Moreover, given the current extraordinary pandemic situation, it is highly crucial to uphold labour rights in a workplace,” the women’s rights groups stated in their letter, which has been sent with the consent of the aggrieved scribe.

The Assam State committee of Students’ Federation of India (SFI) has also expressed concern and deep anguish at retrenchment and job cuts in the media industry. Particularly referring to the incident of the pregnant journalist, the organisation condemned the discriminatory and unfair treatment to the woman reporter.

All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) Assam State Committee and Sadou Asom Pragatisheel Naari Sanstha have also taken up the matter with the news channel’s management. The organisations have asked the channel authorities to not just restore the job of the reporter but also to ensure that she gets six months of paid maternity leave.

“Media stands for the rights of others. It is not expected from a responsible organisation to abandon a woman employee on account of her pregnancy. It goes without saying that along with the right to work, motherhood is also the right of every woman. Apart from curtailing her financial independence, such a step would also exert huge mental pressure on her,” the women’s rights groups asserted.

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