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“Vishaka guidelines must be followed to control sexual harassment”

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As women’s fight against sexual misconduct gains momentum in India with the viral #MeToo movement, actor-politician Kirron Kher on Saturday called for the implementation of the Vishaka guidelines in every organisation in the country.

“According to me, it’s not about the industry, it’s about the world. This is happening in the whole world, not just in the film industry. There is a law, called the Vishaka Guidelines. Vishaka Guidelines is supposed to be there in every institution, whether it is in office, an industry, in every production house, they (the guidelines) should be followed. If you are not following the guidelines, you are making a mistake,” Kher said.

She also stated that it is important for women to speak up when the incident of sexual harassment happens, instead of waiting for so long.

“Those who wait for these many years ought to have spoken about this a lot earlier so that you stem it right at the beginning. This is happening because of the mindset, which feels a sense of power over the women. It’s entitlement. I think you should raise your voice soon, and not wait for so long,” the actor said.

When asked to comment on the sexual harassment allegations against director Sajid Khan, Kiran said, “I have known him for many years, but since nothing has happened with me, I can’t say anything. That only Sajid can answer or the ladies who have made the allegations.”

“I respect the girls who have called out that this is what has happened with us, though I wish that they had done when it was happening,” she added.

Kiran’s comment came at the launch of Season 8 of ‘India’s Got Talent’. She was accompanied by Malaika Arora Khan.

Echoing similar views, Malaika said, “I feel if a woman has spoken up, I think you have to hear her, you have to give her that chance. And if something has happened, I am sure the law will take its course and if you are at fault, you should be punished for what you have done.”

Underlining the importance of initiating the change at the root level, she said, “I have a son, and that is something very important that you have to start it at the root level, with your kids. You have to tell them ‘you have to respect women, you cannot take women for granted. You cannot think that women are like play objects’. Because unfortunately, I think, that is the mindset. There is a sense of entitlement, like you have a power over women, that you can suppress women. That is where it has to change when they are children.

Kirron Kher and Malaika Arora Khan will soon be reprising their role as judges on the sets of ‘India’s Got Talent’. The judges’ panel will also feature Karan Johar.

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