#MeToo: ‘Who wanted to kiss whom,’ Chetan Bhagat shares email of the woman accusing him of sexual misconduct

As the #MeToo movement in India gains momentum, the social media has been abuzz since the past few days as more and more women have come out and accused many men in the powerful position of sexually exploiting them. One of the men named has been author Chetan Bhagat, who has been accused by women of crossing professional boundaries as well as sexual misconduct.

Ira Trivedi, an author, has also accused Chetan Bhagat of trying to forcefully kiss her as well as inappropriate behaviour. Trivedi narrates an incident from a decade back where Bhagat was moderating a panel at Jaipur Literature Festival. She says how upon being asked what would she do if anyone hits on her at book launches, Trivedi, who was 22 then, said jokingly, she would kiss a guy who buys her 100 books and marries him if he buys them all.

A few weeks later, she claims that Bhagat invited her for a tea and later, under the pretext of giving her a signed copy of his book, invited her to his room. Trivedi accuses Bhagat of making a pass at her and trying to plant a kiss on her lips as “he had bought a hundred copies of her book and donated to a library in Pune.” She expressed her shock at the behaviour. Later, in Bhagat’s book ‘Half Girlfriend’, she read a scene where the male protagonist tries to forcefully kiss the female protagonist and found it ‘eerily familiar’. She had then wondered with how many women had Bhagat “reenacted this very scene before he penned it into his book.”

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She claims that she continued being friends with Chetan even after that, but he continued making overtures where she would just roll her eyes and move on. She later accuses Bhagat of groping a friend of hers on a moving bus. She even accuses him of having a repeated behaviour pattern of exploiting young women.

Chetan Bhagat being accused of sexual misconduct by Ira Trivedi

In his defence, Chetan Bhagat took to Twitter to clarify his stand regarding the allegations and also to appeal to people to leave him alone for peace of his family. He shared a screenshot of an email sent by Trivedi to him back in October 2013 where she signed off with “Miss u kiss u.” Bhagat questioned, “So who wanted to kiss whom?”

He even slammed Outlook for publishing the article without getting his side of the story.

He shared a video where Bhagat had launched Ira Trivedi’s book in 2015-16 and questioned whether anyone would call their harasser as chief guest for their book launch.

Adding that a person’s reputation is the most prized asset and it takes a lifetime to build one he said such “motivated, fake attacks” on him are “abhorrent and the sickest thing a person can do.” He then appealed to everyone not to believe the allegations.

He said that he is not a vindictive person and just wants to be left alone.

In the course of the last few days, two women came forward and accused The Wire’s co-founder and founding editor Siddharth Bhatia of sexual harassment. The #MeToo movement on social media has taken the country by a storm with many big industry names like Vinod DuaAlok NathRajat KapoorVarun Grover and comedians like Tanmay Bhat and Gursimran Khamba, co-founders of All India Bakchod being accused of sexual misconduct. Journalists like Prashant Jha and film director Vikas Bahl and many, many more have been named as perpetrators of harassment.

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