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Patidar Protest: Hardik Patel faces media in Delhi; walks off abruptly

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By Manas Dwivedi

Hardik Patel, the 22 year old B.Com graduate, who recently rose to limelight across the nation for his massive caste protest in Gujarat, landed in Delhi today.

Addressing the media at Press Club of India, Patel voiced for expanding the reservation movement across the nation. Revolving around a single point of demanding reservation throughout, Patel found it difficult to answer the media and left abruptly.

Patel clarified the objective of the movement and hinted at the possibility of a nationwide protest if his demands aren’t met. Regarding the involvement of Gurjars and Jats in the protest, he said that the Patidars would seek support from these communities to mount pressure on the government. He announced a mega rally in Lucknow and a similar protest at Jantar Mantar also.

Denying the fact that Patidar is a rich community, Patel said, “Only 10 % of us are prosperous, else others are starving for opportunities.” Insisting on caste based reservation he said, “The 27 crore Patidars in the country are exempted from their right and they should be given what they deserve.” He said he supports the idea of reservation based on economic status, but his community should get it first.

11894971_10200935669549883_1003855836_oHe declined any plans of coming into politics and said he just wanted to fight for the rights of his community. He said the corrupt system of the country has compelled him to protest.

On the question of Supreme Court’s directive of maximum 50 % reservation, Patel said that the constitution of the country should be amended for the provision of reservation.

He mourned the death of 11 people who died in the Ahmedabad violence and said that he will go to Prime Minister in the future if needed. During the whole course of interaction with the Press, Patel didn’t talk about any statistics or a logical reason behind giving reservation to Patidars.

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Sexual Misconduct Cases Will Be Handled Better: Google

Google isn't addressing another one of the protesters' grievance because it believes it doesn't have merit.

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google, sexual misconduct
Workers protest against Google's handling of sexual misconduct allegations at the company's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. VOA

Google is promising to be more forceful and open about its handling of sexual misconduct cases, a week after high-paid engineers and others walked out in protest over its male-dominated culture.

CEO Sundar Pichai spelled out the concessions in an email sent Thursday to Google employees. The note of contrition came a week after the tech giant’s workers left their cubicles in dozens of offices around the world to protest management’s treatment of top executives and other male workers accused of sexual harassment and other misconduct involving men. The protest’s organizers estimated about 17,000 workers participated in the walkout .

“Google’s leaders and I have heard your feedback and have been moved by the stories you’ve shared,” Pichai wrote in his email. “We recognize that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that. It’s clear we need to make some changes.” Pichai’s email was obtained by The Associated Press.

Google, Web summit, sexual misconduct
Google employees fill Harry Bridges Plaza in front of the Ferry Building during a walkout, Nov. 1, 2018, in San Francisco. Hundreds of Google employees around the world briefly walked off the job in a protest against what they said is the tech company’s mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against executives. VOA

Google bowed to one of the protesters’ main demands by dropping mandatory arbitration of all sexual misconduct cases. That will now be optional under the new policies. It mirrors a change made by ride-hailing service Uber after the complaints of its women employees prompted an internal investigation concluding its rank had been poisoned by rampant sexual harassment

Google will also provide more details about sexual misconduct cases in internal reports available to all employees. The breakdowns will include the number of cases that were substantiated within various company departments and list the types of punishment imposed, including firings, pay cuts and mandated counseling.

The company is also stepping up its training aimed at preventing misconduct, requiring all employees to go through the process annually instead of every other year. Those who fall behind in their training, including top executives, will be dinged in their annual performance reviews, leaving a blemish that could lower their pay and make it more difficult to get promoted.

Google, Web summit, sexual misconduct
Google employees walk off the job in a protest against what they said is the tech company’s mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against executives. VOA

The reforms are the latest fallout from a broader societal backlash against men’s exploitation of their women subordinates in business, entertainment and politics — a movement that has spawned the “MeToo” hashtag as a sign of unity and a call for change.

Google got caught in the crosshairs two weeks ago after The New York Times detailed allegations of sexual misconduct about the creator of Google’s Android software, Andy Rubin. The newspaper said Rubin received a $90 million severance package in 2014 after Google concluded the accusations were credible. Rubin has denied the allegations.

Like its Silicon Valley peers, Google has already openly acknowledged that its workforce is too heavily concentrated with white and Asian men, especially in the highest paying executive and computer programming jobs. Women account for 31 percent of Google’s employees worldwide, and it’s lower for leadership roles.

Google, sexual misconduct
Google employees gather in a courtyard as they take part in a walkout from their jobs at the Google campus in Kirkland, Washington. VOA

Critics believe that gender imbalance as created a “brogammer” culture akin to a college fraternity house that treats women as sex objects. As part of its ongoing efforts, Google will now require at least one woman or a non-Asian ethnic minority to be included on the list of candidates for executive jobs.

Also Read: Silicon Valley, Google Walk Off to Protest Against Mishandling of Sexual Harassment Cases

Google isn’t addressing another one of the protesters’ grievance because it believes it doesn’t have merit. The protesters demanded that women be paid the same as men for doing similar work, something that Google has steadfastly maintained that it has been doing for years. (VOA)