Greenpeace India directors quit after harassment claims mishandled

Greenpeace India executive director Samit Aich (above) and programme director Divya Raghunandan resigned on Wednesday, June 25, 2015, after an internal review found the organisation had failed to ensure a safe workplace for women.
Greenpeace India executive director Samit Aich (above) and programme director Divya Raghunandan resigned on Wednesday, June 25, 2015, after an internal review found the organisation had failed to ensure a safe workplace for women.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (AFP) - The head of Greenpeace India and a director have quit over the handling of sexual harassment complaints and a rape allegation, the environmental campaign group said on Thursday.

Executive director Samit Aich and programme director Divya Raghunandan resigned on Wednesday after an internal review found the organisation had failed to ensure a safe workplace for women.

Greenpeace said neither was directly implicated in the cases, one of which dates back to 2012 when a female employee filed a harassment complaint against a male colleague.

Greenpeace India said its "internal processes failed and we did not handle that complaint adequately", prompting the victim to quit.

It subsequently received two other separate sexual harassment complaints against the same man.

Earlier this month Greenpeace said it had accepted the resignations of two men, one accused of sexual harassment and the other of rape. Both were asked not to serve their notice periods.

None of the cases were reported to the police.

"Being the head of India operations, Samit took responsibility and offered to step down," Mr Biswajit Mohanty, a Greenpeace India board member, told AFP.

"There was a lot of evidence to show that not enough was done in terms of taking action against the men or in terms of helping the complainants," he said.

Greenpeace, which has been in India for 14 years, is already embroiled in legal battles with the federal government over its funding and faces the possible closure of its local operations.

It said it only found out about the alleged rape when the victim placed an account on Facebook saying she was attacked at her house after a party in 2013.

Mr Mohanty said an independent review was under way and could be concluded in two weeks.