Conservationist Nisha Bora today accused Padma Bhushan recipient artist Jatin Das of sexually harassing her at his studio in Delhi 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," Ms Bora tweeted today afternoon.
Ms Bora, the co-founder of Elrhino Paper, an Assam-based organisation engaged in making 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 Ms Bora, adding that she is younger than Das' daughter, filmmaker-actor Nandita Das.
The 42-year-old Ms 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 by IANS, Das denied the allegations and called them "ridiculous and vulgar".
"This is horrifying. What else can I say? It's cheap," he said, denying that he even knows Ms 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.
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