India's #MeToo moment

Tanushree Dutta responds to CINTAA’s official statement

The media reports surrounding actor Tanushree Dutta’s sexual harassment claims against actor Nana Patekar have accelerated. On October 2, the Cine and TV Artistes Association (CINTAA) released an official statement in support with Ms. Dutta.

‘Positive and negative’

The former Miss India spoke to The Hindu reacting to the association’s stance saying the statement was both positive and negative. “They’re primarily a film association and they are confirming the fact that there was indeed a complaint lodged in 2008, not that I have to prove it,” she said. “This is for the people who are still trying to steer the narrative about why I am speaking up 10 years later for the first time.”

She went on to say that it’s extremely disheartening that there was no action taken 10 years ago. “The association is supposed to protect your [an actor’s] rights. They are feeling bad [now] and they have communicated this to me personally, about how horrible they are feeling about the situation. These people [the new committee] have more conscience and more soul than the ones before them.”

Ms. Dutta is disappointed that CINTAA has pointed out that the case cannot be reopened due to their three-year statute of limitations. “It’s a 10-year-old harassment case. I was threatened then and I’m being threatened now,” she said, recalling how members of the political party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), continued to intimidate her in 2008 to prevent court proceedings. While Ms. Dutta neither confirmed or denied her intention to take the matter to court, she did reveal she has a legal team in place should the need arise.

On October 3, Maharashtra Minister of State (Home) Deepak Kesarkar voiced his support for Mr. Patekar. According to a leading news wire, ANI’s tweets, Mr. Kesarkar said, “Protection has been given against certain incidents that had happened and not against Nana Patekar. Unless there is a complaint you can’t accuse a person of his status because he isn’t only an actor but also a very well known social worker.”

Life under threat

A second ANI tweet reported on the matter, “It is now known to everybody that they were not connected to anything, it is her personal fight with somebody, those people have attacked and they have admitted that they have attacked so protection was given.” ANI also reported that members of the youth wing of the MNS have threatened the reality show Bigg Boss’ crew in a bid to prevent Ms. Dutta’s participation in the upcoming season after she was reportedly approached for the same.

In a previously released public statement, Ms. Dutta thanked the Mumbai Police for their support: “Amidst all this the Mumbai Police has reached out and offered their support. They have promised me 24 hours police protection and have posted their armed personnel around my home. I would like to thank the Mumbai Police force for coming forward to protect me and helping me strengthen my resolve.”

Strong condemnation

On October 2, CINTAA released an official statement on Twitter signed by actor Sushant Singh, the Honorary General Secretary and Spokesperson, saying, “CINTAA strongly condemns any act that outrages the modesty of any individual and any form of sexual harassment is unacceptable to us. After going through Ms. Tanushree Dutta’s complaint, which was filed with the then Executive Committee of CINTAA in March 2008, we feel that the decision taken in the Joint Dispute Settlement Committee of CINTAA & IFTPC [then known as AMPTPP] in July 2008 was not appropriate, as the chief grievance of sexual harassment wasn’t even addressed.

“Although it was a different Executive Committee at that time, yet as CINTAA we find it highly regrettable and no apologies can suffice, hence we must resolve today to never allow such lapses to occur again. CINTAA stands strongly for the dignity and self-respect of its members.

“Sexual harassment is a serious criminal offense, unfortunately, CINTAA’s Constitution bars us from taking up any case which is more than three years old. Hence we appeal to the authorities to take cognisance of Ms. Dutta’s statements and conduct an impartial and speedy inquiry so that truth and justice may prevail. We also appeal to all our members to report any such incidents to us immediately. We are duty bound to give them our complete moral and legal support to ensure just and safe working conditions.”

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 2:51:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/tanushree-dutta-responds-to-cintaas-official-statement/article25116401.ece

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