India's #MeToo moment

Allegations emerge against Suhel Seth, Aditi Mittal, Raghu Dixit

Support for victims: Ashoke Pandit (second from right) of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees addresses at a press conference on Wednesday. The federation said that film personalities Alok Nath, Nana Patekar and Vikas Bahl will face a boycott from its members if they do not respond to their respective show cause notices.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Bate

The #MeToo movement gained momentum on Wednesday with allegations of sexual harassment and assault made against lobbyist and managing partner of Counselage India, Suhel Seth; comedian Aditi Mittal; singer Raghu Dixit; and documentary filmmaker and human rights activist Stalin K.

A filmmaker and creative producer accused Mr. Seth on Twitter of taking her home by deceit and forcing himself on her. She wrote, “You have abused your power for years on end. With what I’ve seen at a close range, if every woman you’ve ever laid hands on starts to speak up, I assure you, there will be at least 1,000 women who will say, Suhel Seth? Yes. #MeToo.” Several other women journalists came out in support with their stories of assault and humiliation involving Mr. Seth. Counselage India’s clients, including Tata Sons, have been urged by Twitter users to cut ties with Mr. Seth.

Comedian Kaneez Surka has accused fellow comedian Aditi Mittal of forcibly kissing her on stage at an event last year without consent. “It left me humiliated, shocked and completely stripped of choice,” wrote Ms. Surka, demanding a public apology. Ms. Mittal later released a statement on Twitter, saying, “The intentions were not sexual in nature. I realised … after talking to Kaneez that it was a violation of her space and to this day bothers her very much. For this I am unconditionally sorry.”

Mr. Stalin has been accused of inappropriately touching a 21-year-old intern a year-and-a-half ago. “He was the director of the organisation I was interning at. I could never imagine that a dinner where I’d hoped to engage and learn in a safe space would become a source of the kind of discomfort that I took months to process and get over,” she wrote.

On Tuesday, singer Chinmayi Sripaada, who recently accused Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu of sexual harassment, tweeted about two women’s experiences with Mr. Dixit. Allegedly, Mr. Dixit tried to kiss a woman and carry her. The other incident details him asking a woman to sit on his lap so she could listen to his story better. Mr. Dixit has so far only addressed the first incident in a statement on Twitter, asking people to stop attacking Ms. Sripaada while admitting to remembering what happened. But he refuted some details, denying he was a predator and saying he was willing to face an inquiry should there be an investigation.

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 12:59:44 AM |

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