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New Delhi
Sunday 19 January 2020

The suicide of BHEL worker Neha Chouksey

She kept complaining; neither the BHEL authority nor the police cared, eventually forcing her to end her life

Before committing suicide, deputy officer (accounts) in BHEL’s Hyderabad unit Neha Chouksey left behind a note that reveals her odyssey in the PSU. In the suicide note, Neha accused her seniors in BHEL and their associates of hacking her phone and harassing her. Sirf News is reporting this as such harassments are common in workplaces across the nation and, therefore, the issue merits the attention of the authority.

Neha, a native of Bhopal, was posted as deputy accountant at BHEL, Patancheru.

A case was registered and the police probe is on.

suicide

Neha hailed from Kolkata but her parents’ family have been living in Bhopal for many years now. She used to work in BHEL‘s Bhopal facility before moving to Hyderabad. In June this year, Neha applied for her transfer to Hyderabad so that she could live with her husband. In July, BHEL approved of Neha’s transfer to Hyderabad.

Neha’s relatives allege that the incident of harassment started in the BHEL office in Bhopal, which continued in the state-run company’s branch in Hyderabad. Neha’s relatives, demanding a CBI inquiry into the case, alleged that Neha was tortured so much in BHEL, Hyderabad, that she could not bear with the torment even for four months, after which she decided to end the ordeal once and for all by ending her life.

Neha has clearly made a case of abetment to suicide by her colleagues. She wrote she was fed up of the harassment. In the suicide note, Neha alleged that her phone was hacked and she was tortured by a senior officer in BHEL and his associates.

Before committing suicide, Neha had lodged a complaint about her phone being tapped at the cyber cell of Hyderabad Police. Neha’s family members say that she often used to talk to them over the phone, complaining that somebody was overhearing the conversation.

Neha’s family members say this is no ordinary suicide. They allege that there was a conspiracy behind it, in which Neha was tormented so much that she committed suicide.

Neha’s kin, as well as neighbours, say she used to be a cheerful person before the harassment began. Her family says no authority in the BHEL office or even the police were taking the complaints of Neha seriously — either in Bhopal or in Hyderabad.

Now the family has demanded a CBI inquiry into the case.

Neha was happily living her life with her husband. Both of them were very fond of travelling. They used to upload their pictures on social media and send them to their housemates.

Neha’s husband lived with her in Hyderabad. It was because of her husband that Neha had got transferred to Hyderabad. But fate had something else in store for her.

Sunil, the victim’s husband, lodged a complaint at the Miyapur police station, alleging that his wife’s phone had been tapped by her colleagues and that she was subjected to mental harassment. He accuses DGM of BHEL Kishore Arther Kumar of Unit E6 and several other colleagues of Neha — like Mohanlal Soni, Teerathvasi Swain, Sitaram Pentakotta and Mahesh Kumar — of physically as well mentally harassing her. They were aided by two of Neha’s woman colleagues Nilima and Ruchita, says the victim’s suicide note.

The BHEL employee was found dead at her residence in Hafeezpet of Miyapur last Thursday in the morning. Police said that the family members of Neha Chouksey (33) had found her hanging from a ceiling fan. They rushed her to a private hospital nearby where doctors declared her brought dead. “Around 10:30 AM, Neha locked herself inside her room to end her life,” Miyapur inspector Venkatesh Shamala said.

“Prior to her transfer to Hyderabad, she faced a similar problem at the Bhopal branch. She suspected that her colleagues spread rumours about her,” the police officer said, quoting the complaint lodged by the victim’s husband.

Addressed to her mother, Neha’s suicide note written in English, as well as Hindi, ends with the message, “Mother, I have lost. Until now, I had been your brave daughter. But now my senior officers have crossed all limits. I wanted to live; I wanted to live more. But these people would not let this happen.”


Editor’s note

The story has elements that warrant the application of the POSH Act or Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. Given incidents like the suicide of a Genpact executive in Noida last year apparently because of harassment by false charges, perhaps the law should be turned gender-neutral. Assistant vice-president of Genpact Swaroop Raj was accused of sexual harassment by two of his colleagues and was, therefore, suspended. Unable to live with the humiliation of defamation, Swaroop committed suicide at his Noida home on 18 December 2018.

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