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MeToo in India: Event manager Vibhu Sharma accused of assault, writer Sachin Garg of misconduct

Editor's note: Following Rituparna Chatterjee's report — Is India’s #MeToo moment here? Women are angry and they are naming and shaming their abusers — Firstpost will publish a series of articles collating personal accounts of those who have made allegations of harassment, along with responses from those who have been accused of such behaviour. This is an ongoing exercise and will be updated to reflect new developments. If you wish to draw our attention to instances of harassment you may have experienced or witnessed, tweet to us @firstpost with the hashtag #MeToo.

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On 11 October 2018, Vibhu Sharma, who works as an event manager at Impresario Entertainment in Mumbai, was accused of rape and assault by an anonymous woman — via Sandhya Ramesh's twitter handle (@sandygrain) — in an incident that occurred in Manipal University dated back to 2008.

The survivor, who chooses to remain anonymous, claims that she met Sharma at an event management organisation. She says they became friends as they shared similar interest in music. On one occasion, the woman recalls, Sharma was invited to her house for a barbeque party. She took him to her room and they kissed, she mentions in the tweet. "I didn't want to proceed further and made this very clear. But he didn't stop. In fact, he got violent. He held my neck and slapped me. He overpowered me and he raped me," she claims.

As per the survivor, Sharma later messaged her saying if she chose to complain he would get away with that too as his grandfather was a judge. She also adds that in one instance, when she came across Sharma in her office, he made fun of her inability to report him.

On why she chose to speak about this now, she says, "even if this (Sandhya Ramesh's tweet) reaches a few women and they are wary of you (Sharma), my work is done".

Firstpost has permission to reproduce the survivor's experience, in this report:

Firstpost tried reaching out to Vibhu Sharma via multiple platforms — Facebook, SMS, WhatsApp — on 11 and 12 October. His phone remained switched off for the most part, and he chose not to answer (our WhatsApp messages have been read by him).

Riyaaz Amlani, the CEO and Managing Director of Impresario Entertainment, also told Firstpost that he is worried and couldn't get in touch with Sharma. He also tweeted later saying:

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On 12 October, popular Indian writer Sachin Garg was accused by an anonymous woman of sexual harassment. She chose to call out the "bestselling writer" via Sandhya Menon's Twitter handle (@TheRestlessQuill). The accuser, who happened to be an aspiring writer at the time of the incident, says Garg reached out to her appreciating one of her short stories and then asked her out, to which the accuser agreed.

She claims to have suggested a tea cafe for the meeting venue, which Garg, as the accuser puts it, insisted on changing to a bar as he was "excruciatingly boring when sober" and wanted to find out "what drunken tweet he ended up inspiring". She says they got drunk and later Garg offered to drive her home. They kissed enroute following which, she alleges, Garg pulled the car into an empty lot. On asking what his motives were, Garg planted a kiss and tried to put his hand into her shirt. She kept on resisting. He also tried putting her hand into his pants, she alleged, to which the she "vehemently resisted".

The accuser further adds that Garg allegedly forced her to touch his genitals — during which she kept on telling him that she was drunk and wants to go home — and finally took her palm out and ejaculated on it. Following this incident, Garg reached out to her asking if she was ignoring him. The accuser replied saying she is busy. She claims in all this time, no apology was extended to her from Garg's end.

When Firstpost tried reaching out to Menon in order to speak to the accuser, we were told that she doesn't want to speak on this matter any further. She gave us the permission to use Menon's tweet in our report.

Sachin Garg, on being contacted, told Firstpost that he is issuing a statement which he later did on Twitter. He apologised to the accuser, who he claims to have identified.

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Network 18, of which Firstpost is a part, has received complaints of sexual harassment as well. The complaints which are within the purview of the workplace have been forwarded to our PoSH committee for appropriate action.


Updated Date: Oct 12, 2018 17:09 PM

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