Rajnath Cancels Visit to SRM After Furore Over #MeToo Accused

Tamil lyricist & novelist Vairamuthu, accused by seven women, is to be conferred an honorary doctorate at the event.

Updated
India
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Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has cancelled his visit to SRM Institute of Science and Technology to confer an honorary doctorate to Vairamuthu, who has been accused by singer Chinmayi and others of sexual misconduct.
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Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has cancelled his visit as the Chief Guest at SRM Institute of Science and Technology to confer an honorary doctorate to Vairamuthu during its annual convocation ceremony.

The news comes after he received backlash on social media for participating in an event to felicitate the musician who has been slammed with several #MeToo allegations in the past.

The convocation of SRM Institute of Science and Technology is scheduled to take place on 28 December in Chennai.

According to sources cited by The News Minute, the convocation will take place on the announced date, but with other guests. There is still no clarity on whether the decision to confer the doctorate on Vairamuthu has been revoked.

The Twitter Furore

Initially, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was to be the Chief Guest, and the University’s Chancellor TR Paarivendhar and a Lok Sabha MP were expected to grace the occasion.

On Thursday evening, when the invitation began doing the rounds on social media, many people raised objections because Vairamuthu has been accused by around seven women in the #MeToo movement.

Several Hindu outfits and BJP supporters tagged Rajnath Singh asking him to boycott the event, since Vairamuthu had created controversy with his speech on the Hindu goddess Andal. Several people were offended when Vairamuthu quoted a book that called Andal a "Devadasi."

Hindu outfits Hindu Makkal Katchi and the Hindu Munnani even announced black flag protests outside the University in suburban Kattankulathur, reported PTI.

Following the furore, it is understood that the Union Minister decided not to participate in the event.

The #MeToo Allegations

Singer Chinmayi and several other women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Vairamuthu as part of the MeToo movement.

On 8 October, journalist Sandhya Menon had shared screenshots of an anonymous allegation about how Vairamuthu had allegedly assaulted a woman, when she had gone to his residence-cum-office to work on a project.

Singer Chinmayi had alleged that she was asked by the organiser of a programme in Switzerland to "cooperate" with Vairamuthu by visiting him in a hotel in Lucerne. When she refused, she was supposedly told that her career was over. US-based artist Sindhuja Rajaram too had accused him of sexual misconduct.

In a video released in October 2018, the Tamil lyricist has responded stating that they are false. “The allegations being made against me are absolutely false. They are filled with ulterior motives,” he had told.

“I am waiting to face it. I have been in deep discussion with senior lawyers and intellectuals over the past week. I have gathered unshakeable evidence. You can file a case,” he had said.

(With inputs from The News Minute and PTI)

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