Singer Sona Mohapatra has accused colleague Kailash Kher of sexual misconduct as the #MeToo movement kept gaining momentum. Mohapatra’s allegations come days after two women separately levelled sexual misconduct allegations against Kher.
In another allegation on Wednesday, Mumbai-based Sukhnidh Kaur, 19, accused Grammy-winning mohan veena player Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt of harassing her when she was 14. She said Bhatt had performed at her school and she was a part of the choir.
Bhatt’s son Salil denied the allegations.
Speaking with The Indian Express over phone from Istanbul, where she is shooting a music video, Mohapatra said she posted her allegation to “corroborate stories of the two women he (Kher) was refuting”.
She said, “I don’t want people to feel alone. It’s very scary when you are young and not in a powerful position. I think I am in a better position to speak, and even stand up for other people’s rights.”
Kher was not reachable for a comment. His manager Pakul Chaturvedi said a statement will be issued soon.
In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Mohapatra stated that she had met Kher for coffee at Prithvi cafe to discuss a forthcoming event where their bands were playing. “After the usual, a hand on my thigh with lines like, you’re so beautiful, feel so good that a ‘musician got you’ (Ram) not an actor. I left soon after,” she tweeted. “…On landing in Dhaka and on my way to the venue with the organisers, (Kher) keeps calling me and when I don’t pick up, calls the organisers to get through to me and asks me to ‘skip’ the sound check and join him in his room instead to ‘catch up’,” she tweeted.
Let me clarify, I wasn’t shedding either tears or scared because of Kailash Kher’s behaviour 2 years ago. I have dealt with lots of creeps like him in my life like many others. Only reason I shared this true set of incidents was to corroborate the other women’s claims about him.
— SONA (@sonamohapatra) October 10, 2018
Of the two other complainants, one, a woman journalist, alleged that Kher had misbehaved with her during an interview. The second woman alleged that Kher had asked for the girl’s phone number and constantly invited her to his hotel room.
Kaur alleged that when she messaged to thank Bhatt following the event in her school five years ago, he replied saying, “You are very cute”, and “I will meet you and give you so many hugs and kisses.”
Denying the allegations, Salil Bhatt said, “When an artiste is at a certain pedestal, many try to bring him down. We have decided to lodge a complaint with the cyber cell and look at (filing) a defamation case. I appreciate the #MeToo movement and feel deeply for people who are genuinely hurt. But in this, there are a few people trying to malign a wonderful and successful artiste. The moment I saw it, I knew it was fake.”
In another tweet, Mohapatra stated that Kher did not appear to hold back even when he “knew me to be as strong as I am, or that he had only recently taken a favour from my partner Ram.”