On Oct. 4, a young Indian writer by the name of Mahima Kukreja tweeted that a popular, Mumbai-based comedian, Utsav Chakraborty, had once sent her an unsolicited photo of his penis. Other women responded by sharing stories of similar behavior from Chakraborty and Kukreja began tweeting screenshots of the messages she received (while blurring out the names of the accusers). She kicked off a firestorm.

By the time Chakraborty apologized a day later, scores of Indian women — many of them journalists — had taken to Twitter to detail their experiences of sexual harassment and violation at the hands of senior figures in the media and entertainment industries and, in one case, a government official. The repercussions in recent days have included public apologies, resignations, and the sudden closure of a prominent Bollywood production house after one of its co-founders was accused of sexual assault.

Almost a year after the allegations against Harvey Weinstein were revealed, the #MeToo movement has come to India in force. It has been a slow build up. In 2017, Raya Sarkar, a law student, compiled a list of alleged sexual harassers in academia, and earlier this year actress Sri Reddy stripped half-naked to protest sexual harassment in Bollywood. Then, in September, actress Tanushree Dutta accused film veteran Nana Patekar of misconduct with her on a film set in 2008. (Patekar has denied the allegation; Dutta has filed a police complaint.) The case sparked an outpouring of other #MeToo allegations on social media. Now Kukreja’s tweet has started a fresh wave and prompted the compilation of a list — consolidated from stories across social media platforms and shared as a Google spreadsheet — with more than 80 men on it, many of them prominent.

“I wish there was a nicer way to drive the point home for men but they don’t listen,” says Bengaluru-based journalist Sandhya Menon, who took to Twitter in Kukreja’s wake to accuse three different editors at leading daily papers of touching her, texting her inappropriate comments, and forcibly kissing her when she worked with them in the past. (The latter editor, Gautam Adhikari, told TIME that he had “no recollection at all of these incidents from many years ago.” The first two have, respectively, gone on administrative leave and kept silent.)

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Source:: Time – World


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‘People Feel There’s a Chance of Being Believed.’ India’s #MeToo Movement Gathers Momentum

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