KOCHI: With the sources remaining unidentified in the #MeToo allegation against Kochi Muziris Biennale co-founder Riyas Komu on an Instagram handle, the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) has consulted cyber forensic experts to dig out more details.
The move came after the KBF felt a concerted move from various corners to malign the image of Biennale in the backdrop of the allegation. The three-month art exhibition’s 2018 edition is to start on December 12. Cyber forensic expert Vinod Bhattathirippad and former RAW chief and DGP Hormis Tharakan who is also on the advisory committee of the KBF, are looking into it. The experts held a meeting in Kochi last week.
“The Biennale is not against the #MeToo campaign and is in no way trying to protect the persons against whom allegations were levelled. It is looking into the online accusation made to attack KBF,” said a source.
The sexual allegations were made through anonymously-run Instagram account ‘Scene and Herd’ on October 16, against Riyas and an artist who had been showcased in earlier editions of the Biennale. The accusations were posted anonymously.
In the allegation made against Riyas Komu, an art professional says she was pushed against a wall and kissed by him in a hotel room in October 2015. Following the allegation, Riyas stepped down from all his management positions.
However, KBF authorities said they have not deputed any team, but are consulting several experts. “We have been consulting experts from several fields about the concerns raised by supporters - artists and friends - of the Biennale,” said N P Kurian, general manager, KBF. The artistic community and Biennale supporters are of a view the Biennale’s image is purposely being besmirched in the issue in various quarters even though Riyas has stepped down from official positions.
According to Kurian, KBF authorities have not received any clues on the Insta handle so far.Earlier, the KBF constituted a five-member internal complaints committee and commenced a probe on the sexual misconduct allegations though they have not received any written complaint.