#MeToo: Innocent till proven guilty, say Mumbai institutes

Oct 27, 2018, 09:27 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty

Even as Madras Music Academy drops artists accused of sexual harassment, Mumbai's institutes say no action till those accused are found guilty

#MeToo: Innocent till proven guilty, say Mumbai institutes
N Ravikiran

#MeToo has rocked the Carnatic music industry with the Madras Music Academy dropping seven Carnatic musicians over sexual harassment allegations against them. However, institutions in Mumbai have declared that until they are proven guilty, they would be allowed to perform in the city. The seven are N Ravikiran, O S Thyagarajan, Mannargudi A Easwaran, Srimushnam V Raja Rao, Nagai Sriram, R Ramesh and Thiruvarur Vaidyanathan.

The Madras Music Academy
The Madras Music Academy

In a bid to distance itself from the tainted artistes, Madras Music Academy doesn't want the seven among its list of performers for the Margazhi season in December. Carnatic music institutes in Mumbai, on the other hand, have emphasised that the accused should be given the opportunity to present their case and not considered guilty right away.

Madras Music Academy

Taking to mid-day, Dr V Shankar, president, Sri Shanmukhananda Fine Arts and Sangeetha Sabha, said, "I am well aware of the allegations against the singers. I, however, believe that until they are found guilty, no opinion should be passed or media trial conducted against them. The MeToo movement has given a platform to women to voice their grievances, but it is essential to inspect all allegations before holding them guilty."

Dr V Shankar, President, Sri Shanmukhananda Fine Arts and Sangeetha Sabha
Dr V Shankar, President, Sri Shanmukhananda Fine Arts and Sangeetha Sabha

When asked if the organisation would allow the singers to perform until the investigation was over, he replied, "Court is there is to decide who is guilty and who is not. Until then, we won't hesitate to invite them; but yes, we will look into the complaints with the documents available. If the evidence is clear enough to show they are at fault, they will be barred, because this is an institution and no such shameful activity will be tolerated."

President of The Fine Arts Society in Chembur, Ganesh Kumar said, "We being a cultural institute don't have to sit in judgement on anybody. There are other domains that have the right knowledge to decide on this. Also, the Carnatic art faculty is a big fraternity, and these seven musicians make up a small part of it. So far, they haven't been invited here; so there's no question of any rescheduling or cancellation."

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