Amidst raging debate on what’s being termed as India’s own #MeToo movement exploding on social media platforms, two significant developments took place on Monday. First, Prashant Jha, the bureau chief of Hindustan Times, reportedly stepped down from his post after being accused of sexual harassment.
Then Tanmay Bhatt of comedy collective, AIB, announced he was stepping away from the group. This was after Utsav, a former AIB member, had faced a series of allegations of sexual harassment, forcing him to issue an apology for his inappropriate behaviour.
Jha, meanwhile, will continue to work as a reporter at Hindustan Times even though he has resigned from the Bureau Chief’s position. In his email to Sukumar Ranganathan, the paper’s editor-in-chief, Jha wrote that ‘it would be best for me to step down from the position of the National Political Editor/Chief of Bureau of the Hindustan Times.’
“I would not like the organisation to suffer, in the least, because of any allegations I face,” he added.
Jha, who has written two books How BJP Wins and Battles of The New Republic: A Contemporary History of Nepal, Firstpost.was accused by lawyer Avantika Mehta, who had met him for related to some work. She accused him of sending her inappropriate WhatsApp messages despite she expressing her displeasure on them, reported Firstpost website.
Elsewhere, the AIB too announced Tanmay Bhatt was going to step away from the comedy group in light of allegations against Utsav and him. A statement by AIB said, “We have been closely monitoring the sequence of events on social media around the allegations against AIB and also our Co-founder and CEO, Tanmay Bhat. We cannot overlook Tanmay’s role and in light of this, he will be stepping away from his association with AIB until further notice. This implies that Tanmay will not be involved with the day to day functioning of AIB or in any other manner.”
— All India Bakchod (@AllIndiaBakchod) October 8, 2018
The statement by AIB also said that the comedy group had decided to send another member Gursimran Khamba on a temporary leave. This was after a woman accused him on sexual misconduct on social media. The statement said, “We have also just been appraised of the allegations against Gursimran Khamba on social media. At this point in time, these allegations pertain to a private matter, and he has released a statement of his own about the same. However, as an organization, we believe that it would be prudent to place Gursimran Khamba on a temporary leave of absence until we have more clarity on the matter.”
Khamba categorically denied “any violation of consent.”