July 30, 2021

The #MeToo movement gains strength in India beyond Bollywood

The #MeToo movement gains strength in India beyond Bollywood



Reports of sexual abuse have been increasing in social networks beyond Bollywood since the flame of the #MeToo movement caught fire in India two weeks ago, to the point that the Ministry of Women has promised today to create a judicial committee to examine the cases.

"The Ministry will establish a committee formed by judicial and legal system officials to examine all the problems highlighted by the #MeTooIndia movement," the portfolio headed by Maneka Gandhi said on Twitter.

Gandhi urged working women "to leave without fear and report cases of any type of sexual assault" and assured that they will guarantee "all possible help".

The minister's reaction comes amid the cascade of accusations of sexual harassment launched by several reporters this week against the number two of the Indian Foreign Ministry, MJ Akbar, during the time when he worked as a journalist and editor before entering politics .

Akbar, outside the Asian country on an official trip, has not ruled on the accusations, as have the members of the Narendra Modi government.

The only one to break the institutional silence has been the Minister of Textiles, Smriti Irani, who affirmed yesterday before media that the journalist "is the best positioned to talk about this issue". In addition, he stressed that women who have reported abuses in the networks "should not be victimized or ridiculed in any way."

The feminist movement, which gained public prominence this year due to the scandals of producer Harvey Weinstein in the United States, has not affected other political men at the moment, although its effect has been felt in the world of journalism and entertainment.

The well-known filmmaker Sajid Khan today left the direction of a film he was filming after an actress, Saloni Chopra, told in a long blog post sexual harassment and abuse that the director allegedly inflicted.

"For months, he mistreated me mentally and cried me to sleep every night," said Chopra, who explained that the director came to ask him if he masturbated, in addition to subjecting him to degrading treatment and demanding full availability.

Akshay Kumar, one of the most sought-after Bollywood actors and star of Khan's movie, announced on Twitter that he was leaving the project "until more has been investigated," while the director rejected the accusations and assured that he retired until he could demonstrate "the truth".

The Indian actress Tanushree Dutta denounced in late September that she was assaulted during the filming of a movie in 2008, an accusation that she made at the time without receiving much attention but this time has triggered a wave of allegations of sexual abuse and assault by other women in social networks.

The #MeToo has had repercussions in real life, with more or less forced resignations of publishers, scandals in the world of cinema and political statements, but for the moment the movement has not staged large demonstrations in the Indian streets.

In New Delhi, a small group of women convened by the National Federation of Indian Women attended today's historic Jantar Mantar racetrack to demand justice.

"Men need to apologize, they must pay for what they are doing, do they realize the trauma that the woman is suffering when she is harassed or raped in her place of work? To be betrayed by a boss?" of the organization, Rushda Siddiqui.

According to the protester, the country's justice should allow women to denounce the facts "even if they happened 20 years ago, 30 years ago".

By David Asta Alares

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