Filmmaker Nishtha Jain on Sunday accused veteran journalist Vinod Dua of stalking and sexually harassing her about 30 years ago. In a Facebook post on Sunday, Jain called Dua hypocritical for his stand on the #MeToo movement. Dua currently hosts Jan Gan Man ki Baat on news website The Wire.
The filmmaker alleged that in June 1989, when she had met him for a job interview for his TV show Janvani, he had passed a “lewd sexual joke”. “I felt hot in my face and I sat there most probably with an angry look,” she wrote. Jain told Scroll.in she shared her experience with her family and warned her classmates who had applied for the same job.
Soon after this incident, she got a job at another organisation and Dua somehow came to know about it. One night when she was leaving work, Dua was at the parking and asked her to enter his car, she alleged.
“Assuming that he wanted to apologise for his behaviour, I entered the car but before I could even settle down he began slobbering all over my face,” Jain wrote. “I managed to get out and get into my office car and leave. I spotted him again in the parking in the coming nights and would go right back and wait till someone was ready to leave along with me in the office car. After a few days he stopped stalking me.”
The incident took place in 1989 or 1990, Jain told Scroll.in. “I don’t remember the exact dates but it was soon after I joined Newstrack,” Jain told Scroll.in. “I told my family, my close friends. There was no internal complaints committees then. Where could I have gone? To the police?”
Last year, when a crowdsourced list of alleged sexual predators in the academia began to circulate on social media, Jain went public with allegations against a former professor at the Film and Television Institute of India. “Then itself I thought should I write about Vinod Dua,” she said. “My friends said: one at a time.”
She said the outpouring of #MeToo stories last week took her thoughts back to Dua, but she was preoccupied with a shoot and decided to write about her experience with Dua later. However, she woke up on Sunday to read Dua’s comments expressing outrage over “false allegations” levelled against a film writer. “I felt really upset,” she said. “I could not hold back any longer. I’m in the middle of a shoot, but I just let it out.”
In her Facebook post, Jain said: “When I read about his outrage against Akshay Kumar’s sexist words to his daughter Malika Dua, I said to myself he’s obviously forgotten that he was no less sexist, no less misogynist, no less creepy a sexual harasser, potential rapist.”
In October 2017, comedian Mallika Dua had accused actor Akshay Kumar of making a sexist remark on the sets of the television show The Great Indian Laughter Challenge. Vinod Dua took strong exception to the remarks, indicating they had sexist overtones.
The Wire said Dua has denied the charges. “Though the incident pertains to 26 years before Mr Dua’s association with The Wire, our ICC [internal complaints committee] has taken note of Ms Jain’s allegations. We await the outcome of their deliberations in the matter,” said a statement issued by the founding editors of the news website.
Since October 5, several women have used social media to make allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against several journalists, media professionals, actors, writers and others. Union minister and former editor MJ Akbar, The Times of India’s Hyderabad resident editor KR Sreenivas and former Times of India executive editor Gautam Adhikari are among dozens of men accused of sexual harassment. Actor Alok Nath is accused of rape and sexual harassment.