Photo curator Manik Katyal, founder and editor-in-chief of photography magazine Emaho, has been asked to step down from his role as co-director of the “Just Another Photo Festival” in New Delhi on Monday, after a barrage of accusations emerged online claiming he had sexually harassed and assaulted women.
The 27-year-old curator, who has been popular in the Indian photography circuit for the past few years, has not yet responded to the allegations. Meanwhile, over 20 accounts of harassment have so far been recorded.
On November 4, Emaho had announced on Facebook that it had constituted a Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Committee. Within hours, a photographer who had interned for the magazine three years ago, posted an account of her being harassed by Katyal.
“I did not want to drink, but he coerced me into drinking anyway,” she wrote in a post that has since been shared over 200 times “Then, without asking for my permission he started to get physical with me and chose to ignore the fact that I had said ‘NO’ several times.”
The post led to other photographers sharing their own experiences of harassment by Katyal and others expressing their outrage at the irony of Emaho’s committee. “I am shocked to see how the photographic community at large is exceptionally quiet about this whole thing,” wrote Ronny Sen on Facebook, “Moreover, some of them are even congratulating him for starting a committee like this. Like really?”
By the next morning, a blog was set up under the name “I was harassed by Manik Katyal”, that began posting accounts of alleged abuse and harassment by Katyal. One of the photographers who were among the first to raise concerns told DC anonymously, “From the stories that are coming out now, we realise that women from other countries too have been harassed. These are things a lot of people knew about, but no one was willing to come forward,” the source goes on, adding that while they know that these are only allegations so far, the blog has been receiving proof in the form of screenshots — all of which are posted on the blog and the Facebook page “Boycott Manik Katyal”.
Katyal couldn’t be reached for comment and the group behind the blog is considering taking the legal route soon.
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