Writer Varun Grover, who has been accused of touching a junior inappropriately while studying at Banaras Hindu University in 2001, on Tuesday sought "closure" via an open letter in which he calls the allegation a "baseless fabrication". He had been named in the #MeToo movement last week, and he had categorically denied the claim in an anonymous message which surfaced on social media. Several of his celebrity friends also spoke out in his support.
On Tuesday, Varun once again set out to clear his name in the matter, and urged people "not to believe all the screenshots" which are finding prominence via social media. "Am I angry? Yes. Is my mental health in shambles? Yes. Do I occasionally feel like a victim of an agenda? Yes. And would I still say 'Believe All Women'? Yes. But please bring in the checks to differentiate it from 'Believe All Screenshots'. Revolutions can be messy but they can't be perceived as unjust,"he wrote.
While he says he understands and supports the need for anonymity in #MeToo stories as "our highly biased societal systems and male toxic behavior leave most women no space or platform to speak of their traumas openly or even in private", he said "fact-based counter-claims are made by the accused, the movement as a collective can perhaps make space for the intent to verify them".
"If the allegations are found untrue, the movement can announce them to be considered removed or at the very least the account can be labelled as 'pending verification', till the contested claims are checked."
As for allegations against himself, in the Twitter post titled "Seeking closure", he narrated, "I joined IT-BHU in July 1999 for a 4-year under-grad course in Civil Engineering. New batches arrive in July every year. So a junior to me in 2001 would mean two batches- 2000-2004 and 2001-2005. As per official records, in the batch of 2000-2004, a total of 25 females joined the under-grad course and in the batch of 2001-2005, the total female strength was 11. That makes it a total of 36 female students that were my junior at that time."
The Masaan and Sacred Games writer said he had only 36 women studying with him in the university, out of which only four were a part of the theatre group. "And, all these four women not only expressed their solidarity but also checked with the remaining 32 if such an incident happened and they found out that it did not happen."