Netizens Float #MenToo Hashtag to Protest Against 'Unfair' Rape Laws that Target Innocent Men
The arrest of Narayan Sai, son of tainted Asaram Bapu, as well as actor Karan Oberoi has led to widespread protests among his followers who have been propagating a new hashtag #MenToo_UntoldStores on Twitter in response. The "movement" is calling for a moderation in rape laws, arguing that laws only defend women and are unfairly hard on men, many of whom are accused under false charges.
Narayan Sai was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Surat court on April 30 along with his four aides for the rape of woman devotees. The victims had filed a case in 2013, and Narayan Sai has been arrested under Sections 376 (rape), 377 (unnatural offences), 323 (assault), 506-2 (criminal intimidation) and 120-B (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
Since his arrest, many have been agitating about men's rights and the unfair treatment meted out to men by the various provisions of anti-rape laws under the Indian Penal Code. Opponents have been arguing for changes in Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act as well as other laws that deal with rape or sexual assault.
The #MenToo "movement" was initially broached by actress Pooja Bedi who came out in support of her "best friend" Karan Oberoi, who was arrested earlier this month for allegedly raping and blackmailing a woman. Defending him, Bedi said false rape accusations were destroying the lives of many innocent men and that it was time to take a stand against such cases.
Bedi also defended #MenToo in the face of #MeToo, claiming that the movement was not making light of #MeToo or was in opposition to it but rather would only make #MeToo stronger by weeding out cases of false allegations.
Social media has been rife with netizens posting under the hashtag, many claiming that such false accusations are causing suicides among innocent men. They have also claimed that these discriminatory laws are the reason why "patriotic" godmen like Asaram Bapu and his son were arrested. Asaram was convicted for rape in 2013 when the Ashok Gehlot government was running Rajasthan.
I strongly condemn Misuse of rape laws & demand strong punishment for the females who are Misusing these Laws . They don’t have right to ruin life of INNOCENTS. #MenToo_UntoldTruth are becoming easy target more than women. pic.twitter.com/UUdK9bTBeS— Mahesh Surwase (@MaheshSurwase17) May 26, 2019
Foreign Fund is used to target innocent men & defame our culture on world forum !Yes, #MenToo_UntoldTruth face FAKE ALLEGATIONS !Recent example is that of our Patriotic Saints- Sant Shri Asaram Bapu Ji & Narayan Sai Jipic.twitter.com/x5Jp0ghtxF— Saurabh Agrawal (@saurabh_1993a) May 26, 2019
Everyone has the right to keep his side before the law, in case of any dispute.But POCSO law snatches away this right from males. Under this law, any person can be arrested merely on the basis of girl's statement. #MenToo_UntoldTruth are suffererspic.twitter.com/AzAZGHNgAC— Hinduism At STAKE (@WakeUpHindu) May 26, 2019
Recently, retired Bombay high court Judge VM Kanade, who is credited as a champion of women's rights and strengthening rape legislation, said the laws needed a revamp.
In an interview with 'The Times of India', Kanade said the police should not rush to making arrests when allegations of rape are put out -- they should rather investigate the case first. The power to arrest without investigation, provisioned under Section 40, should only be exercised in cases of no consent.
According to statistics by the National Crime Records Bureau, a total of 38,947 cases of rape were reported in 2016. Out of these, about 10,068 cases were filed by women who claimed it was rape on false promise of marriage.