BARC scientist Babita Singh goes missing after highlighting harassment and 'mental torture' at work

On Monday afternoon, Babita Singh, a scientific officer at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (Barc) sent an email to her brother Vikas Singh, citing work pressure. Babita has been missing ever since. In her mail, Babita said that she had joined her work with passion and enthusiasm for science, but that her life had become hell from the very first day. "Every day was new torture day for me. I was humilated and insulted on all possible occasions," she wrote.

Firstpost accessed the letter, reproduced here:

It has been almost five years since I started my journey in BARC. I came with lot of passion and enthusiasm for science. I wanted to be a scientist since my childhood but that dream will end up like this I never imagined.

The day I joined LLRSS my life became hell from the very first day. Initially I thought that the things will turn better one day  but that were just imaginations. Every day was a new torture day for me. I was humiliated and insulted on all the possible occasions.

I have been given a set of experiments to work on without any scientific direction or discussions —  just do it...no questions to be asked!!!! My reporting officer doesn’t even have the time or interest to see if I have the means or information needed to complete these experiments. All the chemicals, even the most insignificant store items, are kept locked or under the control of other senior colleagues of the lab. I am completely forbidden and strictly warned against having any scientific discussions or seek any help from other scientists of Barc working in the same field. All my attempts to have any constructive discussions on these have never led anywhere.....only numerous criticisms and blame game.

At the personal level, I have been shouted at and humiliated at every possible occasion, almost every day. Even the idea of a conversation with her fills me with fear and anxiety since most insensitive language has been used on me. There have been direct attacks on my personal life too

The kind of pressure I was going through I can't explain in words and neither can anyone understand that. The scientific progress was stopped by all the means. I have raised the issue multiple times officially and personally both but I found no solution for this problem. I wanted to change my section to get rid of the situation I was going through but that way was also shut. I can't see myself in this condition. I am in total darkness from all the side with no hope in the current situation.

I am very sorry to my family and my friends whom I am leaving behind without giving them any answers. I am really very sorry. Instead of dying every day slowly I would rather like to die in one shot.

 

Babita Singh. Image Courtesy: Twitter/MumbaiNews

Babita Singh. Image Courtesy: Twitter/MumbaiNews

Speaking to The Hindu, Singh said that he contacted Babita's office but they said that she had left at 1 pm, when he asked about why, they said that they did not know. “At BARC, they are not allowed to take mobile phones and the police found her phone at her residence,” Singh is quoted as saying. Babita's uncle Vinod Singh also said that they madean attempt to reach the officials of her department, but nobody was ready to speak or give any information.

The Times of India spoke to Ashok Rajput, senior inspector at Nerul, who said that she was last seen on 23 January by her landlady — "She took the keys of the flat from the landlady. Thereafter, she left her mobile phone inside her flat and left home. She was visibly depressed when she left home," he said.

Investigating officer, Sadanand Sonkamble is quoted as saying, "The woman is untraceable even after two days. She had emailed her father and fiance that she was depressed as she was being harassed by the senior officers at her work place in BARC and hence she felt like ending her life as she was unable to bear the mental agony."

 


Updated Date: Jan 26, 2017 11:41 AM

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