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#MeToo: Odisha painter Jatin Das accused of sexual harassment

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Bhubaneswar: In a fresh episode in the Me Too campaign, conservationist Nisha Bora has accused renowned painter from Odisha and Padma Bhushan recipient, Jatin Das of sexually harassing her. However, Das refuted the allegation terming it as “ridiculous and vulgar”.

Taking to Twitter, Bora said she met Das through her father-in-law in the summer of 2004 at a dinner event at the India International Centre, Delhi when she was 28 years old.

As per her post, Das asked her to assist him for a few days to organize his work material, to which she agreed.

“I visited Jatin in his studio, which was in Khidki Village. I don’t recall the time of day, but that it was well within daylight hours. He poured himself some whiskey; offered me one too, but I refused. The next thing I knew, he attempted to grab me. I wriggled out of his embrace, flustered. Then he did it again. This time, he managed a clumsy kiss on my lips. I recall the feeling of his beard on my skin. I pushed him away, and moved away from him. At that moment, he said, Come on, it would be nice. Or something like that. What I recall clearly was his disbelief that I was pushing back,” Bora wrote in the post.

“I picked up my bag, stepped out into the sun, and ran home. Never to speak about it. Until now,” she added.

When contacted by IANS, Das denied the allegations and called them “ridiculous and vulgar”. “This is horrifying. What else can I say? It’s cheap,” said Das, denying that he even knows Bora.

“If you meet, you meet hundreds of people and (when) somebody makes an allegation like this, it’s very cheap. One may not recollect the name or face, but one doesn’t stoop down to this level,” the 76-year-old said.

The #MeToo movement in India has been on a rise with victims of sexual harassment from all walks of life voicing their stories.

(With IANS inputs)