‘Ramani’s Win Will Act As A Precedent, And A Deterrent’

Prerna Priyadarshini, 35, a Masters of Laws from Harvard Law School and a practicing Supreme Court lawyer, says the Priya Ramani’s victory in the defamation case is a logical step forward to the Vishakha judgment in 1997

The Priya Ramani judgment in my view comes as a much needed addition to the discourse on the issue of sexual harassment at work place. The process has its roots in the Vishaka judgment of the Supreme Court in the year 1997 which culminated into the law on protection of women from harassment at workplace in 2013. In this light, the court order in Priya Ramani’s case is a welcome step forward from a legal standpoint; and much more from that of a working woman’s viewpoint.

From the legal perspective, it may be construed as only part victory since acquitting Priya Ramani from the charge of defamation is not the same thing as punishing MJ Akbar for his alleged crimes of sexual harassment against her or anyone else. Yet, there are at least three significant reasons noted in the judgment that ought to be widely publicised and made known to all women, particularly the working women across our country.

ALSO READ: ‘Spa Therapists Aren’t Women Of Easy Virtue’

First, that a woman cannot be penalised for raising her voice against sexual harassment at workplace on the pretext of criminal complaint of defamation. Second, a woman has the right to speak up about the sexual harassment suffered by her at any point in time and at any platform. And, third, the right to reputation cannot be protected at the cost of right to life and dignity of a woman as guaranteed under the Constitution of India.

The mental state of a woman who has been at the receiving end of sexual harassment and the dilemmas she faces while reacting to it range from self-shame to the attached stigma, to self-pity and fault-finding in herself. Such a distressful situation often makes them either to hold the trauma as their dark secrets or to delay their decision to complain about it. The court judgment in Ramani’s case acknowledges this trauma. Hence, it also gives hope and encouragement to women in speaking up against their sufferings.

ALSO READ: ‘A Young Widow Is Not Easy Meat’

I also think, it’ll have a greater impact in cases where the perpetrator of the crime is someone mighty and powerful, or a public figure, as it was in Ms Ramani’s case. It may work as a deterrent.

I think (and I hope), the judgment will serve another very important purpose and make anyone in MJ Akbar’s shoes rethink before using a criminal defamation proceeding as an intimidation tactic or a revenge mechanism against a woman, who goes public with her sexual harassment complaint.

Additionally, I hope that the verdict, when challenged in appeal by MJ Akbar, is also upheld by the higher courts, which would definitely help in this becoming a significant precedent in sexual harassment cases.

As Told To Mamta Sharma

#SheToo – ‘Beauticians Are n’t Prostitutes’

Sudha, 42, runs a small beauty salon in a small town of Rajasthan. Even after 18 years in business, she tells LokMarg, the harassment by young men in the area hasn’t stopped. Nor the small town society’s view about a beautician. Her story:   If I were in Mumbai, the Bollywood, I would be called a make-up artist. Here, in Jhalawar (Rajasthan), I have many names, from beauty parlour-wallhi to dhandewali and bigdi hui aurat (woman of easy virtue). Girls in my neighbourhood are discouraged to speak to me lest I should ‘corrupt’ them. But most men size me up on the sly and pass comments. Some of them would wait for me to close the shop and follow me to my house. In 18th year of business now, I have got used to all that. I grew up in a family where elders told me not to be heard, not to be seen. Even on religious occasions, womenfolk in the family visited the temple at 4 in the morning. Stepping out in full public glare was prohibited and speaking in a loud voice was discouraged.

ALSO IN #SheToo SERIES: Silent Victims Of Harassment
‘Saab Raped Me When Madam Was Out Of Town’
‘Clients Often Treat Spa Therapists As Prostitutes’
Putting Up With Nosy Parkers And Peeping Toms
‘People Consider A Young Widow Easy Meat’
‘My Employer Spiked My Drink And Raped Me’
‘Construction Worker Face Verbal Harassment’

When I got married, rather early by city standards, the curfew hours relaxed but women were still expected to follow the set rules of a conservative Thakur family. It was a personal tragedy that made me sit up and took charge. I was 24 when my husband met with a paralytic stroke. We had children to bring up and his medical expense were high. A lesser woman would have chosen to live on family generousity but I decided not to live on handouts. At that time, there was no beauty salon in the area where I live and on marriages, women travelled long distances for a professional hairdo or makeup. Those who could afford summoned the ‘beautician’ home. I sensed a business opportunity. I spent a good amount of money and time in getting trained as a beautician and set up my own beauty salon. It created a sensation, mostly negative though. There’s an adage in small towns:  ‘Aurat hi aurat ki sabse badi dushman hoti hai (A woman is the biggest enemy of another woman)’. My mother-in-law and sisters-in-law gave me a mouthful at every possible occasion. Each day as I stepped out in the morning, they would say: ‘Gayi dhanda karen (There goes the prostitute).’ Besides, in a small town, even with a woman chief minister, people look down at women who opt to pay for looking good. A beautiful woman with makeup on, looking her best gorgeous self must be, as they say, ‘is looking for male attention and sex’. And a beautician is seen as facilitating women up on the immoral path. I have suffered taunts from older men that I am corrupting young girls. And young men think that a beauty salon is the best hunting ground for loose-character women, a pick up point for prostitutes. There is little respect for a beautician in our small town society. My salon is the only woman-owned establishment in this market. Each morning, all eyes are on me as I open the shutters to my parlour. There are a few liquor shops across the road. Young men often stand idly outside my shop and each time a client moves in or steps out, their usual snide remark is: Sharab uss taraf, shabab iss taraf (Wine there, women here). However, my husband has shown complete faith in me and his love has kept me going. But I often question myself why can’t we (beauticians) be accorded the same respect that is given to makeup artists in big towns? My worst times are when a sex racket or prostitution ring news breaks on TV channels where a beauty or massage parlour is involved.  I can hear murmurs that my parlour too is a front for immoral trafficking.  Nobody bothers about checking the facts. I open my parlour at 11 am in broad daylight and close it by 7 pm. I don’t even feel angry anymore, just tremendously sad at how low these men can stoop so low in their thinking. At times, I along with my assistants get to work at a marriage home for bridal makeup. The money is good but your ordeal begins the moment you introduce to the family members. Often, an elderly member would ask about our caste. This feels so humiliating. Then, usually, there are payment hassles or the hazards of finding transport to reach back home as it always gets late in such occasions. The only solace I find is in interacting with some educated women who come to my parlour. They speak of fresh ideas, the changing world and a well-behaved civil society. They have given me strength that I should raise my voice when the need be, but also learn to appreciate men when they are nice to us. Currently, I wish to buy a ‘scooty’ for it will save me from a lot of hassles, and heartburn. It will save me from depending on others for being ferried around at odd hours and I can then just scoot out of any unwarranted situations at the slightest hint of danger! (Name and location of the narrator have been changed on request)  ]]>

#MeToo Deserves an applause in a Misogynist world

According to folklore, the only way to ‘subdue’ a woman with teeth in her vagina is to rape her, knock off her teeth and then marry her and claim her. From folklore to mythology, and Bollywood to White House (currently occupied by a man who allegedly believes women should be grabbed by the p***y) — we live in an overtly misogynistic world, where men have been given the entitlement of getting away with treating women like a commodity.

And this global misogyny has become entrenched in our DNA. Right?

Think again. Only this time it cannot be subdued with force. It is a revolution and it is called #MeToo. #MeToo is a movement where women are speaking up about their stories of incidents of sexual harassment in their lives every day. In the short history (10 years to be exact) of hashtag activism, MeToo seems to have emerged as the most successful campaign to have resonated among millions of women all over the world.

Started by an American activist, Tarana Burke in 2006, the movement was resurrected last year in October by actress Alyssa Milano, who used #MeToo on Twitter and encouraged women to speak up about the sexual harassment they face in everyday life. What followed was a barrage of accusations from women in the US and across the world.

Actresses Uma Thurman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeniffer Lawrence and Ashley Judd came out with their stories of harassment by Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein. Bloomberg reports that in the past one year, there have been 425 accusations in the US alone, thanks to the #MeToo campaign.

In India, journalists Sandhya Menon (@TheRestlessQuil), Rituparna Chatterjee (@MasalaBai) and writer Mahima Kukreja (@AGirlOfHerWords) created a MeTooIndia hashtag and received hundreds of accounts every day, (from film and media industry initially, which later spread to other sectors as well). The result: Men, many of them sitting at the helm of success, have had to resign.

The message is loud and clear, men can no longer get away with sexual misdemeanour. Staring at cleavage, eve-teasing, feeling up women, cracking bawdy jokes, sending pornographic pictures, browbeating a woman into submission are not acts of machismo. There is a word for it and it is called harassment, which by law is a punishable crime.

Ten years ago, actress Tanushree Dutta was branded ‘unprofessional’ when she put her foot down and refused to perform certain dance steps that would have allowed actor Nana Patekar to paw her. Her refusal was followed by intimidation by goons. She filed complaints with Cine and TV Artists Association (CINTA) and the police, but no action was taken. Even earlier, a battery of women suffered silently in newsrooms, in dread of their “predatory editor”, in this case erstwhile minister of state for foreign affairs MK Akbar.

So what is different now that people are taking notice? Probably, women have had enough and they are no longer scared to let the skeletons roll out of the closets. The bullying, however, hasn’t stopped there. Akbar’s posse of lawyers threatened one particular journalist, Priya Ramani, with a criminal defamation suit.

A year ago, Ramani had written an open letter to Harvey Weinstein’s of the world, without taking any names. After the MeToo movement picked up in India, she admitted on Twitter that it was Akbar that she had written about. Mint (the newspaper she works in) read ‘#iamwithpriya’ in place of Priya Ramani’s regular column, when the news of the SLAPP suit flashed across news channels. It is an unprecedented act that deserves to be praised, especially when it comes from a sector, where sexual harassment redressal has rarely been given any attention.

Times, they are a changing. Authorities seem to have woken up. Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister of Women and Child Welfare has stated there should be zero tolerance for sexual harassment at work. Home Minister Rajnath Singh (despite mocking the MeToo campaign) will lead a group of ministers to strengthen legal and institutional framework to deal and prevent sexual harassment.

The National Commission for Women and Delhi Commission for Women have set up email IDs to receive complaints and ensure their quick redressal. In the film industry, CINTAA and the Producers Guild of India will form a special committee and will take steps to ensure redressal and prevention of sexual harassment.

But there are others who need to be heard.

When #MeToo was trending on social media, 36 school girls in Saharsa, Bihar quit school out of fear of eve-teasers. Several other girls from Jharkhand, who were rescued in a trafficking racket, admitted to having been raped and tortured by their employers. One tribal girl who was rescued, died in Ranchi after being tortured by her employer in Delhi. A pin was inserted in her tongue to silence her forever. But she did not have a voice in the first place that could have been silenced. There are lakhs of women like her, who still suffer in silence.

Martha Farell Foundation conducted a quick survey among 291 part-time maids working in Gurgaon, Faridabad and South Delhi. It found that over 29 percent of women domestic workers reported sexual harassment at work. Of this, 20 percent complained to the police but received no outcome and 19 percent remained silent. Hashtag Activism is yet to touch this section of the society. The #SheToo voice is inaudible but not silent. #MeToo has penetrated rural India and women and is trending in small towns of India.

Google’s MeTooRising app that tracks the Google searches for #MeToo all over the world carries a quote from activist-poet Muriel Rukeyser on its opening screen, ‘What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open’. That is exactly what is happening. As I write, India continues to shine on the map like the Kohinoor diamond. The app lists out names that were unheard of.

Today the top Indian cities/ towns where #MeToo is trending are: Mohammadpur Gujar in Haryana, Jatni in Odisha, and Selakui in Uttarakhand. Rural India is appearing on the #MeToo radar. Women reporters from Khabar Lahariya, a grassroots network of women journalists in small town and rural India have written an open letter compiling their stories of sexual harassment in journalism. Post #MeToo, the unsolicited porn videos, they used to receive regularly have come to a stop.

Critics fear that #MeToo can be misused by many. And it is true. But the movement has made men cautious, they can no longer get away with everyday harassment and blame the woman for being unprofessional or prude. It is a tempting idea, but women cannot grow teeth in their vagina. The next best thing is to join a movement to speak up about her ordeal and not be afraid to name her perpetrator.

Scribe accuses Akbar of rape, wife says 'lie'

The Washington Post.

Akbar’s lawyer Sandeep Kapur said: “My client states that these (allegations) are false and expressly denied”. Gogoi said that Akbar, the editor in chief of the Asian Age newspaper at that time, was a brilliant journalist but used his position to prey on her. “What I am about to share are the most painful memories of my life. I have shelved them away for 23 years,” she said, detailing how Akbar physically and mentally harassed her for years while working at the Asian Age newspaper from New Delhi to Mumbai to Jaipur to London. Gogoi said she was 22 when she joined the Asian Age. She was star-struck working under Akbar. She was mesmerised by his use of language, his turns of phrase and took all the verbal abuse. At 23, Gogoi became the editor of the op-ed page which was a big responsibility at a young age, she said. “But I would soon pay a very big price for doing a job I loved. “It must have been late spring or summer of 1994, and I had gone into his office his door was often closed. I went to show him the op-ed page I had created with what I thought were clever headlines. He applauded my effort and suddenly lunged to kiss me. I reeled. I emerged from the office, red-faced, confused, ashamed, destroyed,” she alleged. The second incident was a few months later when she was summoned to Mumbai to help launch a magazine, she claimed. “He called me to his room at the fancy Taj hotel, again to see the layouts. When he again came close to me to kiss me, I fought him and pushed him away. He scratched my face as I ran away, tears streaming down. That evening, I explained the scratches to a friend by telling her I had slipped and fallen at the hotel,” she wrote in the Post. When she got back to Delhi, Akbar threatened to kick her out of the job if she resisted him again. But she didn’t quit the paper, she said. One story took her to a remote village a few hundred miles from Delhi and the assignment was to end in Jaipur. When she checked back, Akbar said she could come discuss the story in his hotel in Jaipur, she claimed. “In his hotel room, even though I fought him, he was physically more powerful. He ripped off my clothes and raped me,” she alleged, adding that instead of reporting him to the police, she was filled with shame. “I didn’t tell anyone about this then. Would anyone have believed me? I blamed myself,” Gogoi said. Gogoi claimed that Akbar’s grip over her got tighter. For a few months, he continued to defile her sexually, verbally, emotionally. He would burst into loud rages in the newsroom if he saw her talking to male colleagues. It was frightening. “I cannot explain today how and why he had such power over me, why I succumbed. Was it because I was afraid of losing my job? I just know that I hated myself then. And I died a little every day,” she said. She said that she continued to look for reporting assignments that would take her far away. Gogoi recalled covering the December 1994 elections. For her excellent work, Akbar said he would send her either to the US or the UK as a reward. “I thought that finally, the abuse would stop because I would be far away from the Delhi office. Except the truth was that he was sending me away so I could have no defences and he could prey on me whenever he visited the city,” she said. Gogoi alleged that Akbar once worked himself into a rage in the London office after he saw her talking to a male colleague. He hit her and went on a rampage, throwing things from the desk at her a pair of scissors or whatever he could get his hands on. She ran away and hid in Hyde Park. “I was in shreds emotionally, physically, mentally,” she said. Akbar summoned her back to Mumbai after which she left the job and joined Dow Jones in New York. “Today, I am a US citizen. I am a wife and mother. I found my love for journalism again. I picked up my life, piece by piece. My own hard work, perseverance and talent led me from Dow Jones to Business Week, USA Today the Associated Press and CNN. Today, I’m a leader at National Public Radio. I know that I do not have to succumb to assault to have a job and succeed. “Over the years, I have not brought up Akbar in conversations. I’ve always felt that Akbar is above the law and justice doesn’t apply to him. I felt he would never pay the price for what he had done to me,” she said. He has called these allegations “baseless and wild” and has filed a lawsuit against one of the journalists who have spoken out, she said. “It doesn’t surprise me. He feels he is entitled to make up his own version of ‘truth’ today, just like he felt entitled to our bodies then,” Gogoi added. (PTI)]]>

#SheToo – Silent Victims of Harassment

The lure of money drew Benu, 48, from rural West Bengal to Delhi for work. A few months in the city, she discovered the megapolis was full of sexual predators. Young lads of landlords who provided cheap accommodation to policemen providing verification IDs and employees at housing societies, a migrant woman had to be on guard 24X7. She herself was accosted by a widowed employer who offered money for her ‘cooperation’. She was repulsed, yet could never gather courage to leave the city. Benu opens up:   Life of a housemaid holds valuable lessons in survival. You know there are men, there are ‘friendly’ men and there are beasts posing as men. I once cooked for an elderly couple in a gated community in Mayur Vihar (East Delhi) when the lady of the house succumbed to Cancer. Within two months of her death, I saw a changed man in the ‘Uncle’ (that’s what I called him). He would chat me up, open the door but will not leave the passage, used the water-dispenser when I was washing dishes and nudged me at every pretence … the signs were perceptible. I gave him the benefit of the doubt till one day he simply blocked my way and forcibly held my hand. “I need someone to take care of me,” he began. “I will pay money. If I find you good, I can even marry you.” I felt repulsed by this slobbering old dog. But let me start from my arrival in Delhi the megacity. I belong to (North) 24 Pargana zilla in (West) Bengal and came to Delhi in search for money after my husband, a farm labourer, died of TB in 2009. A Christian group had helped some of the village women in training as housemaids and finding work for them. These women sent good money home and I was also tempted when one of them wanted a long leave and asked me to replace him for a month.

ALSO IN #SheToo SERIES: Verbal Abuse Of Construction Workers
‘Saab Raped Me When Madam Was Out Of Town’
‘Clients Often Treat Spa Therapists As Prostitutes’
Putting Up With Nosy Parkers And Peeping Toms
‘People Consider A Young Widow Easy Meat
‘My Employer Spiked My Drink And Raped Me’
‘Beauty Salon Is Not A Pickup Point’

Delhi is a cham-chamata shahar (glittering mega city) where even nights are illuminated. I was awestruck. I used to take part in community ceremony for food preparation in my village and was considered a good cook. This was the reason my co-villager offered me the temporary job. Before handing me over the charge, she gave me a sagely advice, “Now that you are here, Benu, you will never be able to leave this city. But remember: avoid two types of men when you seek work – single men and old men.” How prophetic she turned out to be years later, I wonder! After the first month of work as a substitute, I was able to save Rs500 and send back home to my son (20), who did odd jobs in and around the village. I wanted him to fix our roof with the money, but lured by the earnings, he used the money to reach me here, saying that he too wanted to work in Delhi. Such was the lure of Rs 500 back in our village. I rented a room in Chilla village of east Delhi. This rural-urban settlement supplies housemaids and cheap labour to rich (actually, a middle-class) housing colonies nearby. Two households hired me for cooking and dish-washing. The first family belonged to a working young couple, who were always in rush while the other was a retired couple whose children had settled abroad. It all looked good till I found the dark underbelly of city life. The idle sons of Gujjar landlords at Chilla village targeted good-looking (read fair-complexioned) women in the tenant community. They would often get the man of the house drunk and then had their way. It was common knowledge that if these lads set eyes on a woman, it would be impossible to live in the vicinity and stay unharmed. The sexual exploitation did not end there. All maids are bound to make an identity card, duly signed by local police, to be submitted to the gated community they work for. This meant lewd looks and remarks while applying for the ‘card’ which often turned into brutal physical violations, first from the police and later routinely from the society guards. Then there were other male employees in the society up for grabs. One of my friends, a new recruit who did not know how to operate a lift, was accosted and molested by the society gardener in the lift, leaving her shocked and teary-eyed. I was thankful to be a woman of short height and dark complexion. But the contentment was short-lived. The woman in the retired household was diagnosed with cancer and hospitalised. I was 40 when I lost my husband, so I could empathise with the old man who would soon be widowed. Cancer ‘matlab maut’ (means death), and it happened. I pitied the lonely life of Uncle. However, in less than two months, as visitors inflow died, I saw a changed man in the ‘Uncle’. He would chat me up, open the door but will not leave the passage, used the water-dispenser when I was washing dishes and nudged me at every pretence … the signs were perceptible. Then, one day he simply blocked my way and forcibly held my hand. “I need someone to take care of me,” he began. “I will pay money. If I find you good, I can even marry you.” I wanted to run. Then, I thought the money I would lose if I quit. The dilemma ended as the old man moved another step. On an impulse, I just shook his hand and ran away. That night in bed at home, a rainbow of thought did not let me sleep. Could this happen to a woman in her late forties? What if I return to work? Was he serious when he offered to marry a woman 20 years younger? And then I remembered the advice of my old friend. Trust not a single man and an old man. This man was both. I approached that friend again. She had the remedy. “Go to Nancy didi,” she told me and I did. Nancy didi, a young widower living in the same housing society, heard me out and gave me several options: take him to police or report the matter to society office, with her backing. I am illiterate but having lived in Delhi for nearly a decade I know that these actions will force me out of livelihood. I was worried what will I tell my son about it. I asked Didi to merely safeguard me from that lecher in future, as I would come to work there every day. Didi took my phone and said she had put her number on speed dial, whatever that meant, and asked me ring her if the old man ever stalked me again. “Or just rush to my house,” she said. Thankfully, I never required to do either in the last two years but I am thankful to Nancy Didi for instilling this confidence in me. But I often think if a 65-year old can give me such sleepless nights, think of the trauma that goes into the mind of housewives raped routinely by randy boys in our colony or women troubled daily by society employees and lustful house owners. (The identity of certain persons and locations were changed on request. The original conversation in Hindi was transcribed by LokMarg desk)]]>

Akbar sues Priya Ramani for Defamation

Priya Ramani, the journalist to first name M.J. Akbar, has said “truth is the best defence” and she is not worried about the possibility of a defamation case.https://t.co/naH7dkZMqp

— The Telegraph (@ttindia) October 15, 2018 Whilst it is apparent that the accused has resorted to a series of maliciously serious allegations which she is diabolically and viciously spreading in media, it is also apparent that false narrative against the complainant (Akbar) is being circulated in a motivated manner for the fulfilment of an agenda, the complaint said. It termed as “scandalous” the allegations made by Ramani against Akbar and said “very tone and tenor” are ex-facie defamatory and they have not only damaged his goodwill and reputation in his social circle but also affected Akbar’s reputation in the community and friends, family and colleagues and caused irreparable loss and tremendous distress. The complaint, filed through advocate Sandeep Kapur, seeks issuance of notice to Ramani under Section 499 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Section 500 of the IPC provides that an accused may be awarded two years jail term or fine or both in the event of conviction. Hours after returning from a trip to Africa, Akbar had termed allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by several women as “false, fabricated and deeply distressing” and said he was taking appropriate legal action against them. Akbar’s name cropped up on social media when he was in Nigeria. The women, who accused Akbar of sexual harassment, included Priya Ramani, Ghazala Wahab, Shuma Raha, Anju Bharti and Shutapa Paul. (PTI) ]]>

#MeToo: Alok Nath files ₹1 defamation suit

Maine Pyaar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hain Koun!, Hum Saath Saath Hain and Vivah. His lawyer Ashok Sarogi had last Thursday refuted the allegations as “baseless” and “devoid of any merit”. The complaint filed by the couple says, “The complainants (Nath and Ashu) have on October 12 addressed a letter to the Amboli police seeking action under sections 499 (defamation) and 500 of the Indian Penal Code against Nanda.” The police, however, said since the offences are non-cognisable in nature, it would be appropriate if an order is passed by the court concerned, reads the complaint. “We are, hence, seeking the court to pass necessary direction to the Amboli police station in-charge to take cognisance of our complaint and hold an inquiry,” the couple said in the complaint. “We have suffered grave and irreparable loss, harm and injury which could never be compensated in terms of money,” they said. Because of Nanda’s post, which although did not name Nath but subsequently he was named by others, Ashu and Nath have been victimised unnecessarily by way of defamation of their reputation in the society, the complaint said. “Without commenting on anything about her (Nanda), the fact remains that all such occasions, such as the #MeToo campaign, are being encashed by way of utilising the social media for the purpose of either gaining some name and fame or for the purpose of defaming the reputation of a person,” it alleged. Because of the “baseless allegations”, Ashu and Alok Nath were “terrorised” to even step out of their house as people are looking at them with a “different attitude”, the complaint added. In a statement, Nanda’s lawyer Dhruti Kapadia said, “The so called defamation proceedings are not served upon us as yet – however and whatever the proceedings will be, we will deal with everything following due process of law.” The lawyer said they are awaiting decisions of various associations where Nanda has filed her complaint like Cine & TV Artistes Association (CINTAA), Screen Writers Association (SWA) and Indian Film & Television Directors Association (IFTDA). “Pursuant to decisions we will further decide our next step of action,” the statement said. (PTI)]]>