Conservationist Nisha Bora on Tuesday accused Padma Bhushan recipient artist Jatin Das of sexually harassing her at his Khidki village studio in 2004, which Das refuted as “ridiculous and vulgar”.
“I visited Jatin in his studio, which was in Khidki village… The next thing I knew, he attempted to grab me. I wriggled out of his embrace, flustered. Then he did it again. This time, he managed a clumsy kiss on my lips,” Bora tweeted on Tuesday afternoon.
Bora, the co-founder of Elrhino Paper, an Assam-based organisation that makes hand-made paper from rhinoceros and elephant dung, said she had met Das in 2004 at India International Centre when she was 28, and had been married for less than a year.
“I recall the feeling of his beard on my skin. I pushed him away, and moved away from him. At that moment he said, ‘Come on, it would be nice.’ Or something like that…
“I worked myself into a hole believing that talking about it would make trouble… I felt that somehow I landed myself into this spot and that it was my problem to deal with. I felt guilty and ashamed,” said Bora, adding that she is younger than Das’ daughter, filmmaker-actor Nandita Das.
The 42-year-old Bora wrote that the “repressed and ignored wound came right back up to claim its pound of flesh” after she came across the “stories of survivors and their violation”.
When contacted, Das denied the allegations and called them “ridiculous and vulgar”.
“This is horrifying. What else can I say? It’s cheap,” said Das, denying that he even knows Bora.
“If you meet, you meet hundreds of people and (when) somebody makes an allegation like this, it’s very cheap. One may not recollect the name or face, but one doesn’t stoop down to this level,” the 76-year-old said.
The #MeToo movement in India has been on a rise with victims of sexual harassment from all walks of life voicing their stories.
KWAN Entertainment founder Anirban Das Blah, a popular Bollywood celebrity manager, has been asked to step aside from his position in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against him.
Multiple accounts, as reported by a daily, indicated that Blah had made sexual advances towards women.
“We have asked Anirban Blah to forthwith step aside from his duties, activities and responsibilities ar KWAN, its subsidiaries and affiliates with immediate effect,” said a statement issued by the entertainment and marketing company.
“The past few days have been very disturbing to everyone in the light of the #MeToo movement and it has pushed us all to take a step back and introspect whether each of us is doing enough to create a healthy and safe environment,” the statement added.
KWAN has promised to create a “safe and secure” working environment for its employees.
“We fully support the #MeToo movement and deprecate and condemn those who have exploited women in any form or manner. As a responsible corporate, we have taken assistance to ensure that we have efficient and appropriate processes to redress any complaint of misconduct in accordance with the law.”
The company, which manages prominent names like Ranbir Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff, Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Jacqueline Fernandez, Pritam, Mahesh Babu, and Rana Dagubatti, has a Prevention of Sexual Harassment committee in place.
The #MeToo movement in India sparked with Tanushree Dutta renewing a 10-year-old allegation against Nana Patekar, opening the floodgates for a sea of complaints against several other celebrities.
Actors and corporates in the movie industry have stepped up efforts to take stern action against offenders.
Zoa Morani, actress and daughter of producer Karim Morani who has been accused of sexual harassment by an aspiring actress, says the truth about her father will be out soon as she has faith in the country’s judicial system.
An aspiring actress has accused Karim of drugging her, raping her and clicking her nude pictures in 2015.
Reacting to the accusation against her father, Zoa said here: “I don’t want to talk about that issue because the matter is sub judice. When judgement of court will be out, then everybody will know about it. All I can say is that I have full faith in the judicial system of our country and the truth will prevail for sure.”
Karim is also an alleged accused in the 2G spectrum case.
Last year, he was booked by Hyderabad police for the rape of a 25-year-old Delhi-based student.