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Chetan Bhagat, accused of sexual misconduct, apologises after screenshots of messages go viral

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Aniruddha Dhar | Updated on: 06 Oct 2018, 11:58:50 PM

New Delhi:

The #MeToo movement has finally gained a momentum in India, with women from different sections of society are naming and shaming their offenders. Author Chetan Bhagat is the latest addition to the list. 

After Bhagat’s conversation with a woman went viral on social media on Friday, the writer came out issuing an apology. Journalist Sheena has been compiling these allegations on her Twitter page, including screenshots of conversations shared anonymously. 

In a long post on Facebook, Bhagat accepted that the screenshots are real. According to the conversation seen on the screenshot, Bhagat is seen saying, “You are sweet and cute and funny and a nice human being. So I have decided to woo you. [sic]”

"Dear All, I would like to make a couple of points about the screenshots that someone has shared just a couple of hours ago. It has taken me this much time because I saw them a bit late, and then I was in a conversation with Anusha. I am telling you all whatever I told her, which to my recollection is the truth.“But first of all, I am really sorry to person concerned. The screenshots, are of course real, and I am sorry if you felt they were wrong I hope you will accept my apology.

“Just in terms of more information, these screenshots are several years old, and I had met the person in question a couple of times. We hit it off really well as a friendship, and as I say in the screenshots, I did feel a strong connection with her. I did find her a good human being, sweet, cute and funny (as I also say in the screenshots).

“As I also say in the screenshots, I realized I was married and this was not about looking for any action. I just had not felt that kind of connection in a while. Maybe I was going through a phase, maybe these things just happen, or maybe I felt the person felt the same too based on our conversations (which I don’t need to repeat here). However, it was stupid of me, to feel that way and to even share that with her. I just told Anusha about it as well, and apologized to her for doing the same. I should have had better judgement, but I guess I erred a bit there. Maybe I misread the friendliness. Also, I am not completely sure because it was long ago, but the ‘wooing’ bit may have come from a conversation we had about how nobody woos anyone anymore and how sometimes one misses being wooed. My new book then was also about women (One Indian Girl) and we also discussed wooing and relationships in that context.

"Also, I also want to clarify that there never was was nothing physical, no lewd pictures or words that were ever exchanged. I think I deleted the person’s number soon thereafter and we haven’t been in touch for years."We do feel certain things sometimes, and I did too. I found this person special, and different from all others I had met. I shouldn’t have, and maybe I shouldn’t have shared it with that person in a private conversation either.

"Once again, I am sorry to the person concerned, and of course most of all to Anusha. I hope you can forgive me."For everyone’s information, am running this response past Anusha first, to ensure she is okay with it."

On Thursday, Bhagat said it would be wrong to reduce Tanushree Dutta's sexual harassment allegations against Nana Patekar to a "he said, she said" story.Bhagat said it has become a broader issue and needs to be addressed for good now.Last week Dutta spoke about facing harassment at the hands of Patekar during the shooting of 'Horn Ok Pleassss' back in 2008.

"A girl has felt offended and I think we should listen to her. It is for her to decide what actions she wants to take, what she wants -- apology, something more. 

"I don't really know what actually happened there, sometimes it can be a misunderstanding and sometimes it can be a deliberate thing... but whatever, we should listen to her and not kind of question her," Bhagat told news agency PTI.

(With PTI inputs)

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First Published : 06 Oct 2018, 10:35:32 PM