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HomeNews Reports'Manipulative, sex maniac' - Woman accuses Alt News' co-founder Pratik Sinha of sexual harassment

‘Manipulative, sex maniac’ – Woman accuses Alt News’ co-founder Pratik Sinha of sexual harassment

The woman also expressed fears of her allegations being dismissed by stating that after her post, she would be called an 'RSS stooge, a BJP mole' as she was targeting Alt News

On January 14, a woman accused propaganda website Alt News’ co-founder Pratik Sinha of sexual harassment. Sharing her ordeal from an anonymous Instagram handle ‘fightforjustworld’, the woman alleged that Sinha is not only highly manipulative and a ‘sex maniac’ but also used the same modus operandi that he used with her with other women to get them into a physical relationship with him. The woman also expressed fears of her allegations being dismissed by stating that after her post, she would be called an ‘RSS stooge, a BJP mole’ as she was targeting Alt News but had “been fighting against the right wing with my own means and ways”.

The victim alleged to have known Sinha for a few years, and as she was impressed by his work, she started talking to him when he messaged him in DMs on Facebook. It all began on April 24, 2020.

On the first day itself, Sinha asked for her number, and she gave it out of trust. For months to come, they talked over messages daily and later started talking on calls and video calls.

Sinha expressed his “more than friendship” feelings for her within less than two months. As she had academic commitments, she told him a relationship would be possible only after two years. Pratik agreed to it and said he “isn’t talking with, seeing, exploring anything or anyone else and hence would like to continue this”.

However, in November 2020, Sinha said it would not be possible for him to continue the relationship. However, they continued talking. In December 2020, he took back his earlier remarks and claimed he still had feelings for her. He pushed her to meet as soon as possible once the pandemic was over and they had their vaccination completed.

In February 2021, she stopped contacting him due to his forever-changing stances on the emotional connection; however, he did not stop pursuing her. In May 2021, he expressed his desire to continue the relationship and invest time in it. She mentioned that Sinha maintained he wanted to have a ‘monogamous’ and ‘exclusive’ relationship with her and said he had not been physically involved with anyone since March 2019. He always denied it whenever she asked if he was involved with anyone physically or emotionally.

In July 2021, he again expressed his “genuine feelings” for her and asked her to meet before he shifted to Kolkata, which was scheduled for September 2021. They decided to meet in the first week of September and stayed together for three days. During that period, they got into a physical relationship. She made clear her idea was not to have a casual meeting or a fling. When she asked him point-blank, he said, “he wouldn’t put in so much effort, changing two flights to meet up with someone, if it was casual”.

The woman further alleged that he also expressed his desire to marry her once she completed her education. By the conversation, it appears Sinha’s mother also knew about them.

After 12 days of the meeting, in the third week of September, he informed her that he had been misleading her and that all the assurances he gave about the relationship were drama. He further added he had not been truthful about his feelings for her. Also he was having relationships with other women as well. Feeling aghast and heartbroken, her first instinct was to make a hue and cry about it. She warned Pratik she would go public about it.

This is where Sinha’s female friend allegedly entered the scene to ‘resolve the issue’ between them. She wrote, “He immediately sought the assistance of his friend to mediate, who in turn contacted me. She messaged & called me on the pretext of “trying to resolve the issue” but the real purpose was to dissuade me from going public, to coax me into silence, & thus “protect him”.

Through the “friend,” she came to know Sinha was having casual physical relationships with other people. In fact, he was allegedly in a casual physical relationship with multiple women. She came to see that it was his modus operandi to stage a little drama about a severe relationship and lie about his single/exclusive/monogamous status to get a woman in bed. As per the woman, the friend called Pratik a ‘sex maniac’, “someone who is desperate for sex and would go to any extent of lying to get women into his bed”. Notably, he had been avoiding her calls and messages and even blocked her.

Calling Sinha a fake, a fraudster, and someone who “ogles at women’s breasts”, the woman expressed her anguish over the fact that someone who calls himself “the buster of fake information, champion of truth and warrior of women’s rights” allegedly duped her with lies.

Interestingly, when the woman confronted Sinha, he claimed he behaved like that because of a previous toxic relationship. He claimed to have a psychological condition that makes him lie to get what he wants, and he was trying to approach a therapist for the same.

In an unprecedented move, while attacking Sinha, the woman did not leave a chance to attack the right wing for no reason. She claimed, “One reason we hate the right wing is that they lie to people, they spread fake news, they deceive people for personal/political gains.” She added that Sinha was just like the people from the right wing.

Towards the end, she warns all the women charmed by Sinha’s work not to fall for him. “they are just an elaborate trap, laid to satiate his hunger for physical pleasure. It will leave you damaged beyond imagination and make you question your self-worth. Beware of such ‘champions of truth’ & their enablers who call themselves feminists, female rights warriors. They think nothing of looking out for this person’s interests because he is a public figure. They will try to convince you to keep quiet and move on rather than think about other women—they will claim all women agreed to consensual, casual flings.”

She added, “If they paint me as an RSS stooge because I question lying sexual predators & their manipulating allies, so be it. What’s the difference between us & them if we safeguard a manipulator, liar, and predator?”

Towards the end, she particularly mentioned that her fight was not against Alt News but against Sinha. She said, “Once again, my case is not against AltNews. I stand by the cause AltNews is fighting for. I had trembled in agitation and righteous anger when Pratik was supposedly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This news also put brakes on my coming out in public with my narrative. I did not want an accusation that this story was coming in the media because Pratik has been nominated for the most coveted honour in the world, and the story is only trying to sully his reputation. I have waited for the entire fervour around the nomination to abate to open up at last.” Notably, Sinha was never nominated for a Nobel.

The Text of the ordeal

Hello reader! I am reaching out to you to narrate my personal experience about being a victim to a predator. I am not the kind who talks about personal life on social media, but in this case, I had to make an exception. I have chosen to speak out after a great deal of agony & thought, as the experience has had a significant impact on me, in a deeply traumatic manner. I had to think a lot since this is about a man who has a huge public profile; I had to weigh in the consequences of voicing my experience owing to that. But then I have realised it is in larger public interest to speak out. And the person I am talking about is Pratik Sinha of AltNews.

I will make only one preliminary remark in that respect. To those who may think this is a hatchet job, done at the behest of the right wing, I say most emphatically: it is not. All my real-life acquaintances & my small social media circle know the truth, and for the benefit of whoever else is listening I support Mohammed Zubair, Priyanka, Pooja of AltNews in all sincerity, with all the little might I possess. The campaign against Zubair is vicious, so is whatever is happening politically, against which he stands courageously. It is just that, after months of trauma and dithering, I have finally chosen to be true to myself and to all the women out there. No time is a good time, they say—it is in that spirit that I offer my story. For, my silence entails risk different from, but no lesser than, what is entailed in my speaking.

I have known Pratik Sinha since a few years. Impressed by his crusade against false news abounding in the media, I had followed him on social media. Based on my own views & opinions regarding politics, he too had followed me back. However, we never conversed with each other one to one.

On April 24, 2020, Pratik Sinha messaged me & got into a conversation with me on Facebook. At the end of the conversation, he requested if he could have my phone number to continue the conversation. Because of who it was, I overcame my hesitation & gave it to him. Then onwards, he started interacting with me daily. I was drawn into the loop of conversations & soon, he requested that we move on from messages to calls & later, from calls to video calls.

In June 2020, he told me that he thought the feeling he had for me was more than that of friendship & he would want to pursue a relationship— and that we should meet up once the pandemic restrictions are over. Since I had my own career/academic plans, I mentioned that & said I could only think of being involved in a relationship after two years, since it would take me that to complete my academic commitments, and that in the meanwhile if he wanted to move on, he could. To this, he categorically said he “isn’t talking with, seeing, exploring anything or anyone else and hence would like to continue this”. The conversations continued like before and, almost on a daily basis, he would call/message/converse with me. Almost every other day we would talk for hours together.

During November 2020, he suddenly said that he doesn’t seem to be able to connect emotionally and hence doesn’t want to pursue this relationship anymore. Still, we kept talking/messaging/conversing. During December 2020, he reversed his earlier remarks and said he thinks he still has feelings and would want to pursue this relationship. And that he would want to meet up as soon as possible once the pandemic is over or when both of us have our vaccinations completed.

In Feb 2021, due to his changing stances over the emotional connect, I stopped contacting him, but he continued to pursue me, calling, and messaging me. And then, in May 2021, he again started telling me that he would like to continue this relationship and invest time on it. Once again, his calls and messages kept pace with his stated intentions.

All this while, he had been maintaining that he was in pursuit of a ‘monogamous’ and ‘exclusive’ relationship with me and was not at all talking to, messaging, flirting with, seeing, or being physically/emotionally involved with anyone else in any manner. He even mentioned once that ever since March 2019, he was not physically involved with anyone.

Throughout our conversations on intimacy, there was just one thing that I had always maintained. Which is that “the last thing I would want to do is being involved with a man who is involved (either physically or emotionally) with anyone else”. I always asked if he was “involved with someone physically or emotionally”. His answer was always a categorical ‘No’.

In July 2021, he again reiterated that he had genuine feelings towards me and would want to take the relationship to the next level and hence would like to meet up as soon as possible. Then he suggested we meet up before he moved to Kolkata (which was most likely to be September first week) since he would get busy after that. There was also the fact that I had to move out of the country’ for my academic pursuits.

He proposed that we meet up in the first week of September 2021- so we met and spent time together for three days. We got physically intimate while together. I had made it very clear to him that I was not at all interested in a casual meeting or a fling; when I asked him point-blank if this meeting was casual, his response was that “he wouldn’t put in so much effort, changing two flights to meet up with someone, if it was casual”. Also, that “you do know me enough to know that it isn’t a casual meet” and he really wanted to invest time in this relationship and come and see me before I left for my higher education. The mark of his commitment to this relationship, he said, was that he was seriously thinking about marriage after two years, by which time I would have completed my education. When I asked if his mother thought this was a casual meet-up, again his response was that “she thinks there is something serious happening between us”.

As I have previously stated, there was one clear bottom-line for me in this relationship, and I articulated it clearly again and again. Which was, simply, commitment, seriousness, and loyalty. And in each instance, Pratik made categorical assurances that his feelings were in line with those- serious, committed, and exclusive to me. I was satisfied with his assurances and believed in his words.

But after 12 days of our meeting, during the third week of September 2021, he suddenly sent a message saying that he had been misleading me for the past one-and-half years and that all the verbal assurances he had made about the relationship were mere drama and he hadn’t been truthful about any of those feelings with me. That he was lying about his feelings towards me and also about him being ‘monogamous’ and ‘exclusive’ to me.

I was aghast & heartbroken, and despite my mental condition, I was struck by how blatantly and deviously the whole thing had been conducted. My first instinct, naturally, was to make a hue and cry about this. I told him I would go public with how he had led me on. He immediately sought assistance of his friend to mediate, who in turn contacted me. She messaged & called me on the pretext of “trying to resolve the issue” but the real purpose was to dissuade me from going public, to coax me into silence, & thus “protect him”.

I also learnt that he had not been either monogamous or in any exclusive relation with me. Just a month before he had come to meet me, he had met someone and had had a casual physical relationship that he had hidden from me. Indeed, he had been with multiple women, indulging in casual physical relationships. He was mostly fooling around, and I learnt that this is his modus operandi – staging a little drama about a serious relationship and lying about his single/exclusive/monogamous status, to get women into bed. His friend even went to the extent of telling me that she sees him as a sex maniac, someone who is desperate for sex and would go to any extent of lying to get women into his bed. Ever since I tried to confront him, by telling him that I may have to take necessary action regarding this dubious face of his, he has tried to avoid my calls, messages & even started blocking my calls, messages.

Yes, I had fallen for his trap. And at the end of it, I felt violated, abused, traumatised, threatened, betrayed, damaged and wronged. I feel my consent for the physical relationship was not an informed consent because I was lied to. To think that this man had slept with a woman on August 15, 2021, just before meeting me during the first week of September 2021, and still claimed exclusive feelings for me even during that meeting, shatters me.

For me, it’s very important for a partner to be loyal, honest, trustworthy, truthful, and also monogamous during a relationship. I do not judge others – men or women – on their ways. It is just a clear line I draw in a relationship I would be in. A non-monogamous man who had been honest with me would have still allowed me to make my choice and would have thus earned my respect. Had I known that this man is a liar, a fake, a fraudster, one who could stoop to any extent to be in bed with a woman, who ogles at women’s breasts (I speak from personal experience…that is what he did the minute he met me), eyes every other woman, and presses them to have video calls with them during nights, I wouldn’t have even touched him with a bargepole, forget about consenting to meet him.

He admitted lying to me intentionally, knowing very well that if I knew about his lecherous, womanising personality, I wouldn’t have consented to have any kind of contact with him. That he did so is in line with his dubious history, as I got to know it. Behind this veneer of a man who calls himself the buster of fake information, champion of truth and warrior of women’s rights lies a deceptive, fraudulent personality who can tell any lie for some physical gratification.

When I confronted him, he cited the toxicity of a previous abusive relationship as an excuse for his current behaviour. He even tried to convince me that he lied to me because of a psychological condition that makes him lie to get what he wants & that he is trying to approach a therapist. But look at his modus operandi & you know this is disingenuous. He picks easy targets – women who wouldn’t have much social media support, who aren’t popular, so that he can be confident none of his victims will call him out in public. Or that they will indulge him or turn a blind eye to his excesses because of who he is. I recall he scanned my friend list too – must have been to make sure of my modest social media profile.

One reason we hate the right wing is that they lie to people, they spread fake news, they deceive people for personal/political gains. Well, this man hasn’t been any different. For his personal pleasure, he can deceive anyone—hiding that side of him under his ‘righteous’ public image, which is a mere facade. As confirmed by his own friend, there may be other women he has wronged, just that no one has been strong enough to call him out in public.

I felt ugly and dirty about myself when this friend tried to interrogate me with the utmost private details, even asking for chat screenshots, photos, call records, conversations etc. (Indeed, the man shares most private moments of his being with multiple women with this friend and hence she has almost all details.) She tried her best to dissuade me from talking about his dubious character, that I conceal how he lies to get sex.

I speak to give one message to other women out there—a warning to those who might on his list of would-be ‘conquests’. Please don’t fall for his words: they are just an elaborate trap, laid to satiate his hunger for physical pleasure. It will leave you damaged beyond imagination, and make you question your self-worth. Beware of such ‘champions of truth’ & their enablers who call themselves feminists, female rights warriors. They think nothing of looking out for the interests of this person because he is a public figure. They will try to convince you to keep quiet and move on, rather than think about other women—they will claim all women agreed to consensual, casual flings.

If you were a victim, please know that you have an ally in me, that I know how you feel, and that predators like him must be called out. I know the name of at least one other woman—as revealed accidentally by the friend— with whom he played a similar game. Hope that victim gets justice someday.

In any progressive country, this act would amount to rape by deception. A crime. Unfortunately, in India, where marital rape is not a crime, rape by deception is not even considered. Men like him think as long as the woman doesn’t actively resist, it is consensual—no matter how fraudulently they obtained that consent.

It’s time the National Commission for Women, women’s rights activists, feminist groups, women, and men of conscience in general cedi out such abusers. Otherwise, all women may have to hire a private detective to unearth the lies peddled by men like this person, the fact-checker. Fraud vitiates the very’ foundation of consent; it also exhibits moral degradation of the worst order. How’s consent obtained after drugging someone different from consent obtained through a web of lies? How’s using women for sex and then throwing them off as dead dogs once satiated different from those who try- to auction women online? And then he poses to be a bigtime supporter of #MeToo, of women’s rights, and is ironically a member of the Mahila Morcha (Gujarat).

I am aware that I may be tagged an RSS stooge, a BJP mole, etc. But I have been fighting against the right wing with my own means & ways. If they paint me as an RSS stooge because I question lying sexual predators & their manipulating allies, so be it. What’s the difference between us & them if we safeguard a manipulator, liar, and predator?

If you as a liberal do not support me, then you are indeed telling young women like me who are antifascists, anti-right-wing, that the moment one of “our own” men violate, manipulate & disrespect you, we will not stand by you; instead, disown you in the larger interest rather than disowning the culprit. You are telling me that even the liberal, secular left isn’t there for women who are truthful, honest, genuine, ethical & principled. I may have to walk a lonely road, but I am up for it, if it’s for my principles and values, and for justice.

Once again, my case is not against AltNews. I stand by the cause AltNews is fighting for. I had trembled in agitation and righteous anger when Pratik was supposedly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This news also put brakes on my coming out in public with my narrative. I did not want an accusation that this story is coming in media because Pratik has been nominated for the most coveted honour in the world, and the story is only trying to sully his reputation. I have waited for the entire fervour around the nomination to abate to open up at last.

All I want is to caution other people out there about what kind of person Pratik Sinha is personally. It’s our duty to unmask predators and their abettors. He counts on the silence of his prey. He counted on the idea that the women he wronged wouldn’t speak up. Not only is he a sex addict in a position of power and prestige, he thought nothing of trying to gaslight, contort, and deny. Several times I fretted about how he would rearrange the truth to blame me. But the trauma that lives in the victim’s life forever needs to be tended to.

#End

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