The MeToo movement was established by Tarana Burke in 2006 as a means of empowering survivors of sexual assault and harassment. In October 2017, it became a social phenomenon when American actress Alyssa Milano used the hashtag #MeToo to share her story of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein, prompting many other survivors to come forward with their own experiences. Since then, widespread public outcry has sparked a global movement, encouraging survivors to speak up and fight for justice.
Later in 2018 the movement travelled to India beaming out many such cases among the common masses. The movement had a large impact on India. Be it be politicians, media mafias, or Bollywood film industry, it spared none. It played a vital role in growing awareness over these issues. Furthermore, it has resulted in greater accountability and transparency in the workplace, with increased efforts to ensure the safety and security of women in the professional and personal spheres.
Recently, another woman has come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Pratik Sinha of Alt News via her Instagram account (fightforajustworld).
This is what she wrote
Reportedly, The woman accused Sinha of being a fake, a fraudster and someone who “ogles at women’s breasts.” She was frustrated that someone who claimed to be a “buster of fake information, champion of truth, and warrior of women’s rights” had allegedly deceived her.
“Hello reader! I am reaching out to you to narrate my personal experience about being a victim to a predator. I am not the kind who talks about my personal life on social media, but in this case, I had to make an exception. I have chosen to speak out after a great deal of agony & thought, as the experience has had a significant impact on me, in a deeply traumatic manner. I had to think a lot since this is about a man who has a huge public profile; I had to weigh the consequences of voicing my experience owing to that. But then I have realised it is in the larger public interest to speak out. And the person I am talking about is Pratik Sinha of Alt News,” she wrote in her Instagram post.
The victim claimed to have been acquainted with Sinha for a couple of years, and being impressed by his work, she responded when he contacted her via direct messages on Facebook on April 24, 2020. Sinha made his move on the very first day, requesting her phone number. She shared her contact details based on her trusting nature. Over the following months, they communicated through text messages daily and eventually moved to talking on the phone and video calls.
Sinha confessed his romantic affection for her after a few weeks, and since she had academic obligations, she told him that a relationship could only be possible after two years. Pratik accepted the terms and stated that he would not pursue any other connections in the meantime.
In Nov. 2020, Sinha said their relationship couldn’t continue, but they still talked. In Dec. 2020, he changed his mind and said that he still had feelings for her. He wanted to meet when the pandemic was over and they were both vaccinated.
She ended contact with him because of his forever-changing stances on the emotional connection; but he kept chasing her. In May 2021, he expressed wanting to continue the relationship and put effort into it. He said he’d been single since March 201, and always denied it when she asked if he was dating anyone else.
Sinha said he had strong feelings for her and asked her to meet before he moved to Kolkata in Sept 2021. In the first week of September, they met for 3 days and had a physical relationship. When she asked him point-blank about his feelings, he said it was not just a casual feeling, explaining he wouldn’t have changed two flights to meet if it was.
She said he expressed his desire to marry her when she graduated and by the conversation, it even appeared like his mom knew all this. After 12 days of their meeting, in the third week of September, Pratik revealed to her that he had been deceiving her about their relationship and all the guarantees he gave were false. He also confessed that he had not been honest about his feelings for her and was seeing other women too. She was shattered and immediately warned Pratik that she would make their situation public.
That is where Sinha’s female companion came to frame in order to try to fix the dispute. She said, “He immediately asked his friend to intervene, who then contacted me. She sent me messages and phoned me saying that she was trying to settle the matter, but her real aim was to stop me from going public, to persuade me to remain quiet, and thereby “protect him”.”
The woman came to understand from his friend that Sinha had multiple casual physical relationships with women. It seemed to her that his approach was to pretend to be in a serious relationship, while in reality he was single, and then deceive women in order to sleep with them. Pratik was referred to by her friend as a “sex maniac,” someone who would go to any length to get a partner for sex. Notably, he had apparently been avoiding her calls and messages and had even blocked her.
When the woman confronted Sinha, he explained that his behaviour was due to a past unhealthy, toxic relationship. He stated that he had a mental disorder that made him lie in order to gain what he desired and was attempting to receive treatment from a therapist.
She warned women not to be ensnared by Sinha’s work, as it is an elaborate trap to satisfy his physical cravings. It will scar them and challenge their self-worth. Beware of those ‘champions of truth’, even if they call themselves feminists, female rights warriors. They will urge women to stay silent and accept his ‘consensual, casual flings.’
She further added, “If they paint me as an RSS stooge because I question lying sexual predators & their manipulating allies, so be it. What’s the difference between us & them if we safeguard a manipulator, liar, and predator?”
At the end, she made it clear that her dispute was not with Alt News, but with Sinha. She stated, “I still support the cause Alt News is championing. I was overwhelmed with emotion and indignation when it was reported that Sinha was selected for a Nobel Peace Prize. I wanted to keep my story from the media until all the excitement about the nomination had died down, so that people wouldn’t think I was just trying to damage his reputation because of the nomination. I waited until the buzz had calmed down so I could finally reveal my story.” It should be mentioned that Sinha was never actually nominated for a Nobel.
Notably, Pratik Sinha is renowned as the self-proclaimed fact-checker and co-founder of Alt News, alongside Mohd Zubair.
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