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Actor Sushant Singh Rajput Denies Claims of Harassment

The #MeToo movement in India started after actress and former beauty queen Tanushree Dutta in September recalled an unsavoury episode with veteran actor Nana Patekar from the sets of "Horn OK Pleassss" in 2008

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Sushant Singh Rajput
Sushant Singh Rajput. Flickr
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Sushant Singh Rajput has been accused of sexual misconduct by his “Kizie Aur Manny” co-star Sanjana Sanghi. In his defence, the actor shared screenshots of their SMS conversation and called it a “smear campaign”.

Sushant on Friday tweeted snapshots of his conversation with Sanjana from the first day to the last day of the film’s shoot, and captioned it: “I feel sad to reveal personal information but it seems that there is no other way to state what was, in the midst of this curated and well-timed smear campaign.

“From the first till the last day of the shoot, this is what happened on the set with Sanjana.”

Sanjana has accused the 32-year-old actor of behaving inappropriately on the sets of the movie, saying he made her feel “uncomfortable” with his “overly friendly behaviour” during the shoot in Jodhpur.

On Thursday, Twitteratis pointed at Sushant’s missing blue verification tick on the micro-blogging platform following the claims.

Sushant Singh Rajput
Sushant Singh Rajput denies harassment claims.

However, Sushant on Friday clarified: “For all those deliberately using the missing of Twitter ‘blue tick’ to substantiate their false claims, allow me to tell you that it is not there since September 5. Get your facts checked before jumping to conclusions that you so eagerly want to.

The film’s director and popular casting director Mukesh Chhabra has spoken out in support of Sushant.

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“I totally stand by Sushant. No such incident happened on the sets and let’s not have a Twitter trial and make an innocent person suffer for somebody else’s ulterior motives. I had clarified this on twitter long back and I still maintain it,” Chhabra, who too has been accused by a women of sexual harassment, tweeted.

The #MeToo movement in India started after actress and former beauty queen Tanushree Dutta in September recalled an unsavoury episode with veteran actor Nana Patekar from the sets of “Horn OK Pleassss” in 2008. (IANS)

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Women In India Turn To Technology To Stay Safe From Harassment

Police in many Indian cities are also encouraging women to use apps to register complaints

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Women, Harassment
Women stand at a crowded place in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, Oct. 9, 2006. Safety is the biggest concern for women using public and private transport, according to a survey Thursday. VOA

New web and phone apps in India are helping women stay safe in public spaces by making it easier for them to report harassment and get help, developers say.

Women are increasingly turning to technology to stay safe in public spaces, which in turn helps the police to map “harassment prone” spots — from dimly lit roads to bus routes and street corners.

Safety is the biggest concern for women using public and private transport, according to a Thomson Reuters Foundation survey released Thursday, as improving city access for women becomes a major focus globally.

“Women always strategize on how to access public spaces, from how to dress to what mode of transport to take, timings and whether they should travel alone or in a group,” said Sameera Khan, columnist and co-author of “Why Loiter? Women And Risk On Mumbai Streets.”

#MeToo, Victim, Harassment
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician M.J. Akbar takes the oath during the swearing-in ceremony of new ministers, July 5, 2017, at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi. The Indian minister and veteran newspaper editor announced his resignation, Oct. 17, 2018, while still insisting that the accusations of sexual harassment are false. VOA

Reported crimes up 80 percent

Indian government data shows reported cases of crime against women rose by more than 80 percent between 2007 and 2016.

The fatal gang rape of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi in 2012 put the spotlight on the dangers women face in India’s public spaces.

The incident spurred Supreet Singh of charity Red Dot Foundation to create the SafeCity app that encourages women across 11 Indian cities to report harassment and flag hotspots.

“We want to bridge the gap between the ground reality of harassment in public spaces and what is actually being reported,” said Singh, a speaker at the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual Trust Conference on Thursday.

India, Harassment
Students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University participate in a protest demanding suspension of a professor accused of sexual harassment, in New Delhi. VOA

The aim is to take the spotlight off the victim and focus on the areas where crimes are committed so action can be taken.

Dimly lit lanes, crowded public transport, paths leading to community toilets, basements, parking lots and parks are places where Indian women feel most vulnerable, campaigners say.

Stigma attached to sexual harassment and an insensitive police reporting mechanism result in many cases going unreported, rights campaigners say.

Apps are promising

But apps like SafeCity, My Safetipin and Himmat (courage) promise anonymity to women reporting crimes and share data collected through the app with government agencies such as the police, municipal corporations and the transport department.

Students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University participate in a protest demanding suspension of a professor accused of sexual harassment, in New Delhi
People hold placards at a rally condemning the rapes of two girls, aged 8 and 11, in Ahmedabad, India. VOA

“The data has helped in many small ways,” said Singh of the Red Dot Foundation. “From getting the police to increase patrolling in an area prone to ‘eve-teasing’ to getting authorities to increase street lighting in dark alleys, the app is bringing change.”

Also Read: Women And Girls In Poor Countries Are Using Contraceptives More: Report

Police in many Indian cities, including New Delhi, Gurgaon and Chandigarh, are also encouraging women to use apps to register complaints, promising prompt action.

“Safety apps are another such strategy that could be applied by women but I worry that by giving these apps, everyone else, most importantly the state, should not abdicate its responsibility towards public safety,” Khan said. (VOA)