Oscar-winning short film actors forced to quit by sanitary napkin manufacturer NGO

Hapur: Suman and Sneha, the women who starred in Oscar-winning short documentary ‘Period. End Of Sentence’, have alleged that their employer, a Hapur-based sanitary napkin manufacturing NGO, forced them to quit their jobs after the two shot to fame.

Sneha has alleged that she was forced to leave her job after she refused to give Rs 1 lakh given by former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to NGO Action India – the organization running the manufacturing unit.

Talking to ANI, Suman said, “After our documentary was awarded the Oscar, Akhilesh Yadav gave us Rs 1 lakh on the International Women’s Day on March 8. I was called in my office March 17 and asked to submit the check. They said the money belongs to the company as I got it for the work I did here. I contended them.”

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“When they insisted, I asked for some time. Meanwhile, I continued to work. I did not get my salary at the end of the month. When I inquired, they told me to either deposit the money or quit the job. I chose not to give up my reward,” she added.

However, later she was paid her dues.

Sneha, on the other hand, said that the company did not pay her for two months.

She said: “I was not paid for April and May. I asked the NGO as to why I was not paid. They told me that I did not need money as I was already got Rs 1 lakh from Akhilesh Ji. They said I did appear at the plant in this period.

Therefore, I had to quit. What shall I do there if not paid my salary?”

She also claimed to have proof of her presence at the workplace during the said period.

“I want my job back. After getting Oscars and all this fame, we can’t sit at home,” a disappointed but firm Sneha said.

The two miss their job, which they believe was a medium to fight for women’s causes. “I feel like my child was given to someone else,” she said.

Suman said, “I feel bad that the NGO to which we dedicated so much of our time and worked relentlessly without caring about salary and working hours, sacked me.”

Recalling their role during the days when the NGO was struggling hard to establish itself, Suman said: “Sometimes even we worked without salaries. We never demanded a pay hike. We were working for a cause, otherwise, Rs 6,000 are not even sufficient?”

When contacted, the authorized office bearers at the NGO were not available for comments.

The two women appeared in lead roles in the Rayka Zehtabchi-directed documentary based on their fight against the stigma surrounding menstruation and the struggle to make cheap sanitary napkins for villagers. The 26-minute film won the Oscar in the Documentary Short Subject category at the 91st Academy Awards on February 25.


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