India Right-wing Party Calls Rape Accusations ‘Fashionable’

Women in Delhi protest against the gang rape of two teenage girls in Uttar Pradesh state

On Saturday, India right-wing party Shiv Sena took the side of an officer who had been accused of rape by a model, claiming that reporting sexual assault has “become a fashion” and questioning the victim’s motives.

In an article called “Saamana” (To Confront), Shiv Sena wrote:

“Cases of charging men with molestation and rape in (high society) to create hype is on a rise now. It has almost become a fashion. After he has served for so many years in the police force, one model now charges DIG (deputy inspector general) Sunil Paraskar with rape and in one night he becomes a villain.

Such accusations have become good weapons to seek personal revenge.” [source]

In an even more outrageous statement, Shiv Sena said that India’s judicial system should open its eyes and protect innocent men. Why?

 “All the laws in the country favor women so anyone can slap any charge against anyone”. [source]

The statement is absurd, because although India has toughened its laws around sexual assault after a violent and fatal New Delhi gang-rape incident in December 2012, little else has been done to protect women against attacks.

The model who reported the sexual assault blasted Shiv Sena after she saw the horrendous article. In a statement to the Press Trust of India, she said:

“This matter is in court, no-one should be commenting in sensitive matters like this without knowing all the facts.” [source]

To be honest, it doesn’t seem that India’s laws favor women at all – the few laws that are meant to protect them still get distorted in defense of rapists. Bharatiya Janata Party, the second largest political party in India, has committed to a “zero tolerance” policy regarding violence against women. Unfortunately, there seems to be some confusion of what “zero tolerance” really means, as two BJP prime ministers have stated that attacks against women happen “accidentally” and that they were “sometimes right, sometimes wrong.”

In April, another leader – Mulayam Singh of Uttar Pradesh’s Samajwadi Party – opposed an introduced death penalty for men guilty of gang-rape. He simply said, “Boys make mistakes.”

It seems that India still has a long way to go when it comes to protecting women, or even agreeing that their lives are worth protecting over their rapists’.