The Me Too movement — a viral social media campaign against sexual harassment — had made its effect felt in India last year as well when activist Inji Pennu and a California-based Indian student Raya Sarkar had published a list of academics accused of sexual harassment online.
A number of prominent Indian feminists had dismissed the list as unverified accusations. This year, the movement was resurrected, with actor Tanushree Dutta accusing Nana Patekar of harassment.
This was followed by several high-profile accusations, mostly in the media and entertainment industries, including one journalist from this newspaper, being accused by multiple women. Actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Alok Nath, director Sajid Khan, musician Anu Malik and several others faced accusations from unsolicited sexual overtures to rape.
The most high-profile case in India was that involving Union minister and former editor M J Akbar, who was accused by at least 12 women — mostly former colleagues — of inappropriate behaviour and even assault.
Facing a whirlwind of adverse reactions, Akbar was forced to resign as minister, but he also filed a defamation suit against his first accuser Priya Ramani. The Wire Hindi editor Vinod Dua also faced allegations and had to suspend his show.