Singer Sona Mohapatra on Thursday called music composer Anu Malik’s decision to step down as a judge of talent show Indian Idol a “symbolic victory” for all the women who have faced sexual harassment, IANS reported.

At the height of the #MeToo movement in India last year, Mohapatra had accused Malik of sexual misconduct, which had led him to being briefly dropped from judging the show. Singers Neha Bhasin and Shweta Pandit had also alleged sexual harassment against Malik.

Mohapatra had renewed the allegations after Sony Entertainment Television decided to reinstate Malik earlier this year.

“Sony TV took a long time do this but I am happy that he has finally stepped down from the show,” the singer told IANS. “It’s a battle of the whole country. There are so many people who did not want to see this person [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 that she was fighting for 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,” Mohapatra said. “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.”

She added: “A repeat offender like Anu Malik on national TV triggered a lot of trauma, pain and stress in many of our lives.”

Anu Malik says he has taken three-week break

However, on Friday, Anu Malik claimed he did not quit the show, but has only taken a three-week break, according to the Hindustan Times. “I want to clear my name and return to the show,” the composer said. “If someone is saying things about me again and again on social media, it gets to you. I wrote an Instagram post explaining that I am in a dark space.”

“This Twitter campaign has been going on since a while and I was tired of these false, malicious accusations on social media,” he said, adding that the best thing for him was to clear his name and go back to business. He added that Sony network has been supportive and never asked him to step down or quit.

Malik claimed that the network would not have had him as judge without being clear of the accusations. “Last season, I quit and this year, they got me back,” he said. “If they had any doubts about me, they wouldn’t have approached me at all. This time, I told them that people keep saying things about me so this time, I will come back after clearing my name.”

Malik has repeatedly denied the sexual harassment allegations levelled against him.

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