MeToo row: Sona Mohapatra asks Delhi government to drop Kailash Kher from cultural fest

Singer Sona Mohapatra asked chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to withdraw Kher’s name because of allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
Singer Sona Mahapatra(Hindustan Times)
Singer Sona Mahapatra(Hindustan Times)
Updated on Dec 15, 2018 01:04 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

The Delhi government’s cultural festival ‘Mayur Utsav’, which is scheduled to host singer Kailash Kher, ran into controversy on Friday with singer Sona Mohapatra asked chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to withdraw Kher’s name because of allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Mohapatra started an online petition on “Change.Org” addressed to Kejriwal and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and also took to social networking site Twitter wondering why was Kher, despite the multiple allegations against him, invited for the three-day cultural festival, which kicked off in Mayur Vihar on Friday. Kher is scheduled to perform on the last day of the festival on Sunday.

“Dear Delhi , AamAadmiParty, ArvindKejriwal and Lt governor Delhi. Multiple women, including minors, have come out in the public with their MeToo stories against this predator, Kailash Kher and you choose to rub this kind of insult to injury? Do you care so little for 50 percent of your population?” Mohapatra wrote on Twitter sharing a poster of the event featuring pictures of Kher and Sisodia, who is also the state’s culture minister.

In a series of tweets, Mohapatra had in October shared her #MeToo story by accusing Kher of sexually harassing her. She alleged she was harassed by Kher during a meeting in Prithvi Café in Mumbai to discuss a forthcoming concert in which both the artists were performing.

The staff of Mohapatra, who was performing in an event in Chandigarh on Friday night, confirmed the petition.

“I am hopeful that the Delhi government, which is keenly aware of women’s safety as a critical issue will listen to MeToo survivors and their citizens when we ask them to drop Kailash Kher. That is why I am asking you to sign and support this petition to the Delhi Government,” Mohapatra told news agency PTI. Kher did not respond to repeated calls and text messages.

“Just like Sona Mohapatra’s latest petition, some of the petitions started here have become impactful,” said Durga Nandini, senior director (communication and partnerships) at change.org.

Last month, Delhi government’s culture department hosted Carnatic singer TM Krishna after his performance by Airports Authority of India (AAI) was earlier deferred after it was trolled for planning to host an “anti-national” and “urban naxal”.

Delhi government spokespersons and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia didn’t respond to repeated calls and text messages for a comment on the controversy.

(WIth PTI inputs)

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