Monday, Aug 08, 2022

Anu Malik Steps Down As Indian Idol Judge, Sona Mohapatra Says, 'It's A Symbolic Victory'

"Our fight is not over yet, it's just a start," said Sona Mohapatra

Sona Mohapatra considers music composer Anu Malik's stepping down as Indian Idol judge a "symbolic victory" Jitender Gupta

Singer-composer Sona Mohapatra has said that Anu Malik's decision to step down as a judge on the singing reality show, Indian Idol, is a "symbolic victory" for all women who have faced sexual harassment

After maintaining silence for quite a while, Anu Malik, recently, penned an open letter addressing the allegations levelled against him. Reacting to Anu's decision, Mohapatra thanked everyone who supported her campaign against Anu.

She tweeted: "Thank you to all the women, men and the media of India who supported our campaign #MoveOutMalik . A repeat offender like Anu Malik on national TV triggered a lot of trauma, pain and stress in many of our lives. I have been ill for a while and I hope to sleep well tonight."

Earlier this month, in an interview with Outlook, Mohapatra explained how she found herself in a corner with all doors shutting on her. "There are very few opportunities for women stars and all the emphasis is on celebrating testosterone."

She also stressed that Anu Malik is a serial sexual molester. “So many women have called him out in the public domain. But would anybody set such a dangerous precedent by giving him a platform on national television?”

“It is deeply disturbing that for eleven years you are putting this guy around youngsters who are so vulnerable; their parents are so desperate to make their kids win. And when you are vulnerable, you are not in the best position to fight back.”

Mohapatra also said that it wasn't just her battle. "It is everybody’s battle and I know that change will not happen overnight, but eventually things will change.”

The controversy erupted in 2018 when Mohapatra, for the first time, accused Anu of sexual misconduct, forcing the composer to step down as a judge on season 10 of the show last year. Singers Neha Bhasin and Shweta Pandit, too, joined Mohapatra and made similar allegations against the senior music composer.

However, when Sony TV reinstated Malik on season 11 this year, Mohapatra restarted her campaign against the composer and the channel. Over the past several days, she received huge support on social media as more and more people demanded Malik's removal from the show.

A few days ago, Malik took to social media and claimed "false and unverified allegations" were being levelled against him. He said that he was "in pain" and "in a dark space", demanding justice. And now on Thursday, the composer decided to quit the show. A source close to Sony TV confirmed to IANS that Malik "is stepping down as a judge from Indian Idol".

Malik's decision has come after Mohapatra wrote an open letter to the Union Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Smriti Irani, urging her to look into the ongoing debate Malik.

"My open letter to the honourable minister for women & child development. @smritiirani, I hugely admire you, your tenacity and commitment to work for the welfare of people in India and I request you to please read this. Many more women are writing into me privately about this man," she tweeted.

After Mohapatra's letter, the National Commission for Women had sent a notice to Sony TV. The commission mentioned Mohapatra's tweet and asked the channel to clarify if any action was taken on the matter. Asked if her letter to Smriti Irani has created an effect on Malik's decision, Sona said: "I really would not know. I am sitting here in my own little world. If my letter or her name has created any effect then I would like to thank her. She is an amazing woman."

(With added inputs from IANS)