Mumbai: Men's rights activists slam gender bias, say false charges cast shadow on genuine cases

Updated: Nov 20, 2019, 07:59 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

Men's rights activists slam gender bias, pledge to right wrongs in quest for justice

Karan Oberoi with Manish Gupta. Pic/ Atul Kamble
Karan Oberoi with Manish Gupta. Pic/ Atul Kamble

International Men's Day might not have the profile and visibility of Women's Day but we do see awareness. Vaastav, a Mumbai men's rights organisation marked the day — November 19 — at the Press Club, Azad Maidan, on Tuesday afternoon. Speaking to a primarily male audience, Amit Deshpande, president of Vaastav, said, "Today we are marking 10 years of celebrating International Men's Day. Earlier we were mocked, but today it has become a brand."

Deshpande added that for gender justice, the government must take a look at some of the programmes it is promoting. "Why not bachcha padhao instead of just beti padhao? The government must look at the high rate of child dropouts. Young boys are forced to work as child labour in this country. We want the dowry law to change as well," he said. Actor Karan Oberoi, (a woman who accused him of rape was herself arrested for filing a fake case and defaming him) said, "Terrible wrongs have been done. When there is injustice, both genders feel pain, anguish and suffering. This is a malaise or a disease we have to recognise and acknowledge or nothing will change. I was one of those unfortunate victims of injustice."

Lopsided laws

Oberoi further said, "We need to create awareness about the lopsided laws. Otherwise, one day you will get up and in your quest for justice be told, 'Hey you are the wrong gender'. I am not left or right. I am centre, and that means I am for absolute equality. Every fake case robs a real victim of his or her victimhood. Fake cases do not help women. I must acknowledge that I got a lot of support from women. Some actors even came to the police station to support me."

Oberoi held up a book 'Holy Cow', which he said was his story. The actor explained, "This book, which should be in bookstores soon, is a no holds barred account of my case. It is my emotional catharsis. I have told my book agent that the proceeds of it should be channelised towards the fight for men's rights."

Fake cases

Speaking about the movie Section 375, writer Manish Gupta said, "The film focuses on false rape cases. This is a movie about a man and a woman in a relationship. The affair gets over after a fight and results in a fallout. The woman files a rape complaint as revenge. I researched for the film for three years, hearing at least 160 court cases. At least 70 to 80 per cent of them were fake ones."

The men's rights activists added, "False cases turn rape into a tamasha (joke), whereas it's a heinous crime."

The men's activists in the room slammed immediate arrest, which is warranted by law, once a woman files a complaint.

"The complaint must first be investigated. In this way, the 'accused's' reputation is left in tatters. This is the first step towards making the laws gender unbiased," they said.

The activists claimed that these laws were made 200 years ago "when it was a deeply patriarchal society and women were seriously disadvantaged. Today, urbane and empowered women are using these laws to frame, harass and falsely incarcerate men, ruining lives and reputations."

Oberoi concluded by saying, "Rape is not committed by a man but by a rapist."

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