#MeToo: Another woman speaks out against Ganesh Acharya

Updated: Feb 05, 2020, 16:21 IST | Mohar Basu | Mumbai

Complainant writes to National Commission for Women detailing assault that allegedly happened in 1990; choreographer denies allegation.

Ganesh Acharya
Ganesh Acharya

Barely a week after an assistant dancer filed an FIR against Ganesh Acharya, another senior background dancer approached the National Commission for Women (NCW) on Tuesday alleging sexual abuse at the hands of the Bollywood choreographer in 1990.

Acharya denied the second set of allegations too, saying he is being maligned. In her letter addressed to the NCW, the woman stated that Acharya coerced her into having sex with him in 1990.

"It happened to me three decades ago. I have been married and have had kids, but he hasn't changed one bit. When I read about the FIR, I knew I had to speak up too. In 1990, I used to go to Sahiba hall in Andheri West where several masters take dance classes. Acharya used to assist Kamal masterji. I was 18 then and working as a non-member dancer," the woman told mid-day.

Ganesh Acharya (centre) has claimed that the two women have concocted the stories against him
Ganesh Acharya (centre) has claimed that the two women have concocted the stories against him

"One day, Acharya said it's mandatory to learn Jive for auditions and invited me to his class in Santacruz East. Classes were held on Sundays at 11 am. One of his assistants picked me up from Khar subway and dropped me to a room on the first floor of Hotel East and West. I did not suspect anything till that point," she said.

"There were no other students. Acharya said the assistant has gone to bring the sound system and other students. On the pretext of teaching me Jive, he kissed my neck and cheeks.
"When I resisted, he threw me on the bed and said he wanted to make love to me and marry me. I kept saying no but he kept moving his hands over my body. I was too terrified and told him I am on my period. He finally got off from me and said, 'Kya yaar, mood kharab kar diya'," the woman said.

The woman ran out of the hotel and did not return to his class. "He got other students to call me and ask what the problem was. He said he was willing to waive off the fees. I know another person with whom he tried something similar. It's shocking that he is still misusing his power," she said in her complaint.

The first complainant said that there must be many more with whom he is doing the same. "He can claim that people are trying to malign him, but there are many with similar stories."

"It has been 30 years since the incident, but my anger hasn't gone. I never told anyone about his behaviour and the incident except my husband. It's time that we women speak up", the latest complainant said.

Acharya's response
Acharya told mid-day that these are concocted stories part of a conspiracy against him. "I have explained in a press conference that some people are tarnishing my image because I took a stand against them. They control trade unions in the industry. My stand against them and in the interest of dancers is causing them losses. Everyone involved in these wrongdoings against me will be exposed. They may do many such things against me, but I will not give up," he said.

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