Singer Sona Mohapatara on Thursday said that she considers music composer Anu Malik's stepping down as "Indian Idol" judge a "symbolic victory" for all women who have faced sexual harassment.
An "elated" Sona told IANS: "It's great news. Sony TV took a long time do this but I am happy that he has finally stepped down from the show. It's a battle of the whole country. There are so many people who did not want to see this person (Malik) flaunting himself on national television because it gives a lot of wrong messages to predators that they can also get away with such a thing."
She added: "I was fighting for fairness and justice. Now, after hearing this news, I think it is a victory for eveyrbody -- not just me but also for all other women who were badly treated by him. It is a symbolic victory. Our fight is not over yet, it's just a start. We are not going to sit here and let people to take us for granted."
The issue erupted in 2018 when Mohapatra for the first time accused Malik of sexual misconduct, which forced the composer to step down from season 10 of the show last year. Singers Neha Bhasin and Shweta Pandit had also joined Mohapatra in alleging sexual harassment against Malik.
However, when Sony TV reinstated Malik on season 11 this year, Mohapatra restarted her campaign against the composer and the channel.
Over the past days, she has mustered huge support on social media, and people have increasingly been demanding Malik's removal from the show.
A few days ago, Malik took to social media and claimed "false and unverified allegations" were being levelled against him. He said that he was "in pain" and "in a dark space", demanding justice.
And now on Thursday, the composer decided to quit the show. A source close to Sony TV confirmed to IANS that Malik "is stepping down as a judge from Indian Idol".
Malik's decision has come after Sona wrote an open letter to the Union Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Smriti Irani, urging her to look into the ongoing debate Malik.
"My open letter to the honourable minister for women & child development. @smritiirani, I hugely admire you, your tenacity and commitment to work for the welfare of people in India and I request you to please read this.Many more women are writing in to me privately about this man," she tweeted.
My open letter to the honourable minister for women & child development.??. @smritiirani ,I hugely admire you, your tenacity & commitment to work for the welfare of people in India & I request you to please read this.Many more women are writing in to me privately about this man?? pic.twitter.com/Z8bU8RG528— ShutUpSona (@sonamohapatra) November 21, 2019
After Sona's letter, National Commission for Women had send notice to Sony TV.
The commission also shared the notice on their official Twitter handle. They captioned it: "@NCWIndia has taken Suo-motu cognizance of this matter and send a notice to Sony Entertainment Television @sharmarekha @MinistryWCD @PMOIndia."
In the notice, the commission mentioned Mohapatra's tweet, and asked the channel to clarify what action was taken on the matter.
@NCWIndia has taken Suo-motu cognizance of a Twitter post shared by @sonamohapatra wherein it's alleged @SonyTV has ignored testimonies of multiple women against a person regarding sexual harassment and made him a Judge for a talent show for youngsters on National television pic.twitter.com/UvC7bx7tL9— NCW (@NCWIndia) November 21, 2019
Asked if her letter to Smriti Irani has created an affect on Malik's decision, Sona said: "I really would not know. I am sitting here in my own little world. If my letter or her name has created any affect then I would like to thank her. She is an amazing woman."
Talking of Malik's decision, in an interview to Times Of India, he shared that "he wants to go on a three-week break from the show, and will come back after his name is cleared".
Thank you to all the women & men & the media of India who supported our campaign #MoveOutMalik . A repeat offender like Anu Malik on national tv triggered a lot of trauma, pain & stress in many of our lives. I have been ill for a while & I hope to sleep well tonight. ??— ShutUpSona (@sonamohapatra) November 21, 2019