Right-wing accounts were quick to use Jain’s allegation of sexual harassment against Dua, a famous Left-liberal voice critical of the Modi government.
New Delhi: As the #MeToo movement continues to rage, acclaimed filmmaker Nishtha Jain Sunday took to Facebook to describe how senior journalist Vinod Dua allegedly sexually harassed her nearly 30 years ago.
Within minutes, several people began to share Jain’s account as evidence of the “Left’s hypocrisy” and the need to call out and punish men who subscribe to the ideology.
Speaking to ThePrint, Jain said: “It was not easy for me to call him out… I was aware that this could be used by the Right wing, who would love something like this. But he cannot go on behaving like a saint teaching people what constitutes sexual harassment, because he is not one.
“The hypocrisy needs to be called out, and it needs to be said that all men — irrespective of their ideology — can do this… Being from the Left does not give you an extra allowance.
“For me to not call him out because he belongs to my ideology is like saying ‘I am a Dalit, so I will not call out a Dalit man who rapes me’.”
In her Facebook post published Sunday, Jain said Dua, who she had met in 1989 for a job interview, allegedly told her “a lewd sexual joke” before she could even settle down. After she told him the salary she was expecting, he allegedly told her “Tumhari aukat kya hai?” (What is your worth?)
Later, Dua would allegedly go on stalking her, and even “slobbered” all over her face on one occasion, she said.
“It left me feeling terrible,” she said in a telephonic interview. “Things like these disrupt you in many ways…There’s a fear — a fear of interviews, for instance,” she said.
While Jain said women speaking out against men is an extremely encouraging development, she wondered why men were not calling themselves out. “How come no man is outing himself? Is there no introspection? Are they not pausing and asking themselves if there was a moment they did something wrong?
‘Did he forget what he had done?’
Last year, Dua’s daughter, actor and comedian Mallika Dua, had called out Bollywood star Akshay Kumar for telling her: “Mallika ji aap bell bajaaiye, main aapko bajaata hoon,” during a shoot.
Jain said: “He (Dua) supported his daughter, who called out Akshay Kumar’s sexist comments. At the time, I thought, ‘has he really forgotten what he did to other women? How is he any better than Akshay?’”
While Jain admitted that there is a fear of fabricated accounts surfacing in the #MeToo wave, they should not stop women from outing their harassers.
“Not outing men for the fear of misuse of #MeToo is like saying because there is fake news, there should not be news in general,” she said.
Further, Jain said it was always possible to differentiate between genuine and fake accounts.
“In his (Dua’s) case, people are believing me very easily, and already, other women have started coming out…I hope that my account gives strength to other women to out him,” she said.