ecently, India has been taken by a storm on the social media by the movement #metoo. It has put many big names from the media, politics, and entertainment industry into the dock. But the way things are developing and the kind of responses we’ve seen from many eminent people or supporters of this campaign, it has definitely exposed the two-faced campaign and its campaigners. Let’s discuss few such cases:
The campaign has just resulted into the resignation of MoS for External Affairs, MJ Akbar. It was Priya Ramani who first went ahead and made statements about the minister’s inappropriate behaviour and sexual harassment on social media when he was in journalism. Later on, many more journalists and former journalists came forward and shared their experience about MJ Akbar’s predatory behaviour. We know that when the allegations were levelled, Akbar was travelling abroad on an official tour. In his absence, few ministers expressed their opinion covertly that he should resign. But later on, there was a gagging order by the BJP leadership to prevent all its leaders, ministers, and spokespersons speaking on the issue. It was assumed that Akbar will step down or will be told to do so once he’s back as the BJP which always raised the slogan “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” was not supposed to tolerate such allegations. But surprisingly, Akbar neither resigned nor faced the media when he returned but issued a statement denying all the allegations as false and filed a defamation case against Priya Ramani. However, it was not Priya Ramani alone who made statements about Akbar, but there were more than 15 ladies. What stopped Akbar from taking this legal step against all other accusers? It seems on feeling the heat, the BJP leadership was later forced to take a U-turn and asked MJ Akbar to step down. Now, there is the other face of the case. Priya Ramani who took the leadership in campaign against Akbar is a well-known personality in media. Her husband is also a prominent personality of media and a big name that’s known fearless in journalism. In fact, they both are considered to be the bigwigs of power corridors of the Media. What stopped her to open her mouth all these years? In her case, it can’t be said that all these years she was working under MJ Akbar or some kind of threat was preventing her to do so. Her husband who is making tall claims on social media showing solidarity with his wife, what stopped him for all those years? Also, we did see some so-called prominent female journalists writing many articles, social media posts, doing TV debates in the support of Priya Ramani and demanding MJ Akbar’s resignation. A few of them are Barkha Dutt, Pallavi Ghosh, Nidhi Razdan, Sagarika Ghose, Saba Naqvi, etc. It was really shocking that all these journalists were actually campaigning in a political way but not feminists or journalists. None of them said or suggested that Priya Ramani should take the legal course and bring MJ Akbar to justice. The only thing they were asking was for Minister’s resignation for allegedly what wrong he did many years ago as a journalist. When MJ Akbar filed the defamation suit, these entire so-called journalists started raising hue and cry that he was trying to suppress the victims. These journalists are so double-faced that they want to do mob justice to the so-called accused. Just because MJ Akbar is accused of something, does it take away his right to defend himself? Also, these journalists are such liars that when MJ Akbar filed the case they peddled the lie that he has hired 92 lawyers to sue Priya Ramani by posting the “Vakalatnama”. They are not that naive to not know whether if you hire a law firm, all the lawyers of the firm sign a “Vakalatnama” so that any of them can attend the case on any given date. It doesn’t mean that all of them are going to appear on each date. Also, what MJ Akbar allegedly did as a journalist many years ago, same charges has been made against Vinod Dua who is still a journalist. We were astonished to see that none of these feminist and self-proclaimed honest journalists raised their voice against him. Why? In our opinion, they should have gone after Dua first as he still shares their profession. But sadly, it doesn’t suit their agenda and the so-called victims of Dua are less important females than Priya Ramani in their view.
Let’s take the case of Vinod Dua now. It is well-known that Dua is the father of comedian Mallika Dua. She is well-known for her abusive tweets, statements, and stand-ups. When #metoo campaign struck film actor Alok Nath, she posted abusive tweets addressing Nath and endorsing the campaign showing her solidarity with all the victims. Surprisingly, when some so-called #metoo victims of her father Dua came ahead and shared their story that how Dua hounded them, molested them, and sexually exploited them, this same lady posted her solidarity with Dua, but not with the victims. Also, Dua, about whom the victims have come ahead and narrated their horrific experiences, happens to be a journalist on a leading position with “The Wire”. The same “The Wire” has done many stories against all the #metoo campaign accused but when it came to Dua, no action was taken against him. Rather, they issued a statement saying that all the allegations are of the time when Dua was not working with them. Does this make Dua less criminal if at all the allegations are true? And most shocking part came two days back when Dua was seen brazenly mocking and talking about the allegation levelled against him in a story video of “The Wire”. “The Wire” has not even protected and defended Dua but also gave its platform to the man to mock the movement and his victims. And sadly no Barkha Dutt, Pallavi Ghosh, Nidhi Razdan, Sagarika Ghose, Saba Naqvi are talking about it.
Nandita Das, the known actress, and director is a well-known rationalist, feminist, known for her views and was also very vocal about the #metoo campaign. Recently, a few so-called victims of her father Jatin Das came forward and exposed him. After that, we have not heard much from this rationalist/feminist actress except one post showing solidarity with her father. So much for feminism? Again sadly no Barkha Dutt, Pallavi Ghosh, Nidhi Razdan, Sagarika Ghose, Saba Naqvi is talking about it.
Last but not the least, recently, there was a murmuring on a social circuit that one hardcore right-winger female has her story too on #metoo when she was molested in a BJP MP’s office by her senior and this “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” party MP did nothing about it but tried saving the accused. And now we are witnessing many defensive and denial statements from this MP’s office which is proved to be false and getting exposed by the victim herself on social media. Yes, we are talking about Sonam Mahajan, a well-known right-winger lady known for her fearless social media posts, statements, and views. She was hired on a one year contract by BJP MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar in Bangalore as a strategist in October 2017 on the payrolls of Namma Bengaluru foundation run by the MP. However, she was reporting to Abhinav Khare who’s the COO of Asianet, one of the MP’s media companies. A month after her joining, Mahajan filed a sexual harassment case with the HR against Khare. The investigation got completed in June 2018 which was supposed to get completed within 90 days as per the company laws. However, the report vindicated Mahajan’s complaint and recommended punitive measures against Khare which actually never happened. Rather Mahajan was relieved from her duties and the lawyer from the same firm took a gagging order from the court for Mahajan to not speak openly in public about the issue. She kept silent because of the court directions but has now been forced to open up as Khare and Rajeev Chandrashekhar, both have been issuing statements to the media on this issue. It was expected that since Sonam Mahajan is a staunch right-wing asset, there will be voices coming out from BJP and right-wing feminist and media in support of her. But here we are! Not a single BJP leader or a female leader has spoken yet on the matter. Rajeev Chandrashekhar has issued a statement denying that Sonam Mahajan was a core member of her team but Mahajan has demolished his claims by posting counter proofs on the social media. Madhu Kishwar, who initially supported Mahajan, has also turned her back and is now actually criticising her and questioning for her credentials. OpIndia, a supposed BJP, and right-leaning media website, did a story on the issue and tried defending the accused MP and tried putting Mahajan under question too. It is to be noted that OpIndia is led by another staunch right-wing lady and feminist named Nupur. So much for Rights and Beti?
There are many other cases where we’ve seen the double face of media, accused, and the accusers. Moreover, it could have been a campaign of women’s benefit if at all the so-called self-proclaimed feminists which they are not, self-proclaimed honest journalists which they are not, self-proclaimed torchbearers of “Beti Bachao” which they could have either stayed away or have been involved honestly and truly. Things could have been different!
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