Singer Sona Mohapatra considers music composer Anu Malik's stepping down as Indian Idol judge a "symbolic victory" for all women who have faced sexual harassment, reported news agency IANS. Sona, on Thursday, told IANS: "It's great news. Sony TV took a long time to do this but I am happy that he has finally stepped down from the show. It's a battle of the whole country. There are so many people who did not want to see this person (Anu Malik) flaunting himself on national television because it gives a lot of wrong messages to predators that they can also get away with such a thing."
She added: "I was fighting for fairness and justice. Now, after hearing this news, I think it is a victory for everybody - not just me but also for all other women who were badly treated by him. It is a symbolic victory. Our fight is not over yet, it's just a start. We are not going to sit here and let people to take us for granted."
The issue erupted in 2018 when Sona Mohapatra, for the first time, accused Anu Malik of sexual misconduct, which forced the composer to step down from season 10 of the show last year. Singers Neha Bhasin and Shweta Pandit had also joined Mrs Mohapatra in alleging sexual harassment against Anu Malik.
However, when Sony TV reinstated Malik on season 11 this year, Sona Mohapatra restarted her campaign against the composer and the channel.
Over the past days, she has mustered huge support on social media and people have increasingly been demanding Anu Malik's removal from the show.
A few days ago, Anu Malik took to social media and claimed that "false and unverified allegations" were being levelled against him. He said that he was "in pain" and "in a dark space," demanding justice.
And, now on Thursday, the composer decided to quit the show. A source close to Sony TV confirmed to IANS that Anu Malik "is stepping down as a judge from Indian Idol."
Malik's decision has come after Sona wrote an open letter to the Union Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Smriti Irani, urging her to look into the ongoing debate Malik. "My open letter to the honourable minister for women and child development. Smriti Irani, I hugely admire you, your tenacity and commitment to work for the welfare of people in India and I request you to please read this. Many more women are writing in to me privately about this man," she tweeted.
My open letter to the honourable minister for women & child development.. @smritiirani ,I hugely admire you, your tenacity & commitment to work for the welfare of people in India & I request you to please read this.Many more women are writing in to me privately about this man pic.twitter.com/Z8bU8RG528— ShutUpSona (@sonamohapatra) November 21, 2019
After Sona Mohapatra's letter, National Commission for Women had send notice to Sony TV. The commission also shared the notice on their official Twitter handle. They captioned it: " NCW has taken Suo-motu cognizance of this matter and send a notice to Sony Entertainment Television." In the notice, the commission mentioned Sona Mohapatra's tweet and asked the channel to clarify what action was taken on the matter.
When asked if her letter to Smriti Irani has created an effect on Anu Malik's decision, Sona said: "I really would not know. I am sitting here in my own little world. If my letter or her name has created any affect then I would like to thank her. She is an amazing woman."
Talking of Anu Malik's decision, in an interview to Times Of India, he shared that "he wants to go on a three-week break from the show and will come back after his name is cleared."
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)