Published: 24th October 2019
Woman accuses thespian Maloy Mitra of forcing oral sex: Bengal's third #MeToo allegation in a week
Formal complaints have been filed against the accused, who also works with children, at the Kolkata Police Headquarter in Lalbazar. But the police are yet to comment on this
The past week has seen the ugly side of West Bengal's intellectual elite brought to light. Thespian Sudpito Chatterjee was arrested and then sentenced to judicial remand, Mohiner Ghoraguli founder Ranjon Ghoshal apologised to anyone he has "misbehaved" with and now an FIR was filed against theatre personality Maloy Mitra for sexual assault and attempted rape on one of his students.
Sharmistha Chakraborty took to Facebook on October 22 to talk about her encounter with Maloy back in 2011. She accused him of forcing oral sex and trying to violate her. Sharmistha, now 27 and no longer associated with theatre, also filed formal complaints with the Kolkata Police Headquarters at Lalbazar and the local police station. "I had kept quiet for a long time even though people close to me who knew about the incident encouraged me to tell people about what this man was capable of. I did not have the strength or the courage to do so. But the world needs to know what he did. More so because he teaches theatre to children," said Sharmistha.
She was a part of Panchambaidik, a theatre group in Kolkata, when she met Maloy who conducted a workshop for the members. "I wanted to learn more from him and contacted him. He asked me to visit him at his 'rehearsal pad' in Shukhchar (suburbs of Kolkata). There was a big, sturdy man on guard outside the apartment when I reached. It did not seem odd to the starstruck and simple me at that time. He said he would mention different characters and moments and change the character accordingly. But he started off with 'seduction'. To be very honest, I didn't know what it meant. I come from a semi-urban set up where we do not have much exposure to similar situations," Sharmistha recalled.
But things escalated very fast. Sharmistha did not get time to react before Malay, allegedly, forced oral sex on her. "He grabbed me by my hair and forced me. Somehow I got out of his grasp but soon realised there is no escape. The door was locked from outside. He, half-naked by now, kept calling me to come to him. I somehow pleaded him to let me go and reasoned that we did not have protection at that time. This worked. He let me go thinking that he has me in his grasp," said Sharmistha. "I was so scared and tired, both mentally and physically that I probably would not have managed home. A good samaritan helped me get back home that night," she recalled. "I have searched for people with similar experiences with him. But everyone would just swiftly avoid the topic. I could never forget myself for not speaking up then. I lost my innocence that day," she added.
Unlike the previous two instances of #metoo allegations, the accused here seems to have some support. A day after Sharmistha shared her story on Facebook, Maloy put up a post on Facebook claiming that whatever was being said is completely untrue, "The false accusations that have been circulating on Facebook and social media since yesterday about me are completely baseless and false. Facebook or social media is not a podium for judgment. I too want the truth to be revealed. I'm taking legal action." The theatre group where he is a director, Shukhchar Pancham also put out a statement saying that they support Maloy.
The police are yet to comment on the issue.