An anonymous Instagram account has accused veteran comedian Sanjay Rajoura of sexual assault and harassment, as well as emotionally manipulative behaviour. The user, who goes by the pseudonym metoo_tara, published a detailed account of the allegations over two Instagram posts, claiming that she was coerced into performing “oral sex in a public place”, pestered for intimate photos, and pressured into having sex. Rajoura has denied all the allegations in a Facebook post, stating that the allegations “have no iota of truth.”
In her Instagram posts, metoo_tara, who is in her early 20s, stated that she first heard of the Aisi Taisi Democracy star after watching him on a TV panel about an incident of rape, and was “captivated by his feminist and politically correct views.” She says that she became friends with Rajoura on Facebook, and he initiated a conversation that led to an invitation for drinks. However, soon after the conversation turned to flirting. “He started talking like he assumed I would be willing to have sex with him during our first meet up – he asked me if he should shave his pubes for our first meet up.”
Though hesitant, she says she reciprocated the interest after a while and the duo quickly moved on to sexting, with Rajoura pressuring her to send “unsafe” or explicit pictures. She went on to describe an apparent meeting at the comedian’s house, mentioning his “eagerness and desperation” to get intimate, which she was “okay with” despite some reservations. However things got a bit hazy after she got inebriated, with Rajoura allegedly “tugging [her] hand towards the bedroom” repeatedly, till she gave in. She states that she either “gave up or was too drunk to put up a fight.”
The account also accuses Rajoura of trying to convince her to record an explicit sex video, and then repeatedly pulling down her bra strap after she agreed to an intimate but non-nude video. She also alleged that he “coerced her into performing oral sex in a public place,” along with several accusations of emotionally manipulative behaviour, including a supposed attempt at self-harm while on a video call.
“It took me more than a few months to come to the painful realization that what happened between us was toxic, overpowering, and problematic,” metoo_tara wrote. “As the realization set in, I began to wonder if anyone at all would believe my word against someone with such influence in both media and politics, especially someone who has displayed strong gender politics. For a long time I lived in the fear of the consequences […] So why am I speaking up now? I am doing this for MYSELF, to unburden this weight I have been carrying for so long. It is not on me to convince the world of my experience, hence I am not attaching any proof. I am doing this for closure.”
Rajoura has responded to the allegations with a public statement on Facebook in which he reiterated his respect for the MeToo movement and other campaigns to empower women and marginalised communities, before saying that the allegations are “a work of complete fiction, and I have all the proof and evidence to counter this malicious post and will be happy to provide it to any fair investigation agency.”
“It’s a fact that in country like India it is excruciating for women to reveal their identity when they are calling out the instances of harassment,” he added. “I respect that and in no way am I questioning anyone’s right to be anonymous. My point is that the author of the post themselves say they DON’T want to give any proof. In this condition, how can anyone come to any conclusion about veracity of the post? […] I have nothing to hide or fear. My principles are very clear and transparent.”
In a post from 20 July, Rajoura spoke about a “bully” who gained his trust and then came out with a “fiction of some women who claims to be molested” by him. The comedian ended the post with a promise to “expose her”.