Actress Pooja Bedi has started a campaign on social media in support of TV actor Karan Oberoi who has been arrested on charges of rape and blackmail on the pretext of marriage. He has also been accused of filming their intimate moments and for trying to extort money by threatening to make the video public. The 34-year-old complainant said that she met the accused through a dating app in 2016. Rape allegations have been charged against Karan by a woman who is a ‘tantrik (one who practices black magic)’ and ‘healer’, as claimed by his close aides. Through the campaign #MenToo, Pooja has claimed that Karan is innocent and she has appealed for equal laws for men and women. According to her, women have been misusing laws by filing false complaints against men. She believes that this FIR is a vendetta against Karan.
In her Facebook post, Pooja has mentioned, “Time to stand up for men who have been punished by women MISUSING laws. I had supported the men’s rights movement last year as well. Why… ??? Because to be pro-women it doesn’t mean I have to be anti-men. If I believe in equality it has to be about equal laws. Equal punishment. Equal justice. Let’s start hash tagging #MenToo.”
Last year, activists Barkha Trehan and Amit Deshpande alerted Pooja to the overwhelming number of men being subjected to fake cases. For decades she has stood up for women’s rights because it was important. However, with the increasing misuse of laws by women, it has become skewed. Pooja said, “I am pro-women, not anti-men. I believe in equality. It’s ridiculous that a woman’s identity is kept secret but a man’s identity is splashed as #rapist on the filing of a case and without verifying of facts or evidence.”
“The most amazing part is that women organisations have put to hold hands with us on the #MenToo movement. Naturally, we have the support of men’s organisations and also large bodies containing men and women as they want equal rights and protection for both sexes,” she added.
According to Pooja, women empowerment, women’s rights, and pro-women laws are essential but these laws should not be used to victimise innocent men. All those who want an equal and fair society are standing up and joining hands asserted Pooja.
“Karan’s case is a poster boy case for fake cases. I hope it will be a landmark case as far as laws changing to protect an innocent man’s identity as well as stringently prosecute and punish women who misuse the law for personal or professional gain or vendetta. We need firm and strong ruling against fake cases and to provide stringent punishment to errant women,” Pooja told Afternoon Voice Editor-in-Chief.
She stated that #MeToo (though it includes men) has a pink dot and is more seen as a women’s movement against sexual misconduct by men. While #MenTo, on the other hand, is about changing laws of the country and putting measures in for reform. “It aims to protect the identity of innocent men falsely accused of heinous crimes like rape. To fight for hiding the identity of a man until proven guilty and prosecute women who file fake cases against men,” she added.
Pooja wondered while the complainant had alleged that rape occurred in January 2017, she has been sending messages to him and asking him for sexual favours in 2017 and 2018. “Would a raped woman send a man, who has raped, drugged, filmed, and blackmailed her, these messages post alleged date of rape?” asked Pooja. She stated the police arrested Karan even though enough proof against the complainant was shown to them. Karan had filed a harassment case against the woman in October 2018.
“She has given an interview to a mainstream newspaper in November 2018 mentioning they were a couple and she showered him with gifts. In 2019, she suddenly claims a rape case backdated 2017. Her FIR has many contradictions. On one hand, she complains about rape and on the other hand she says that Karan promised to marry her,” Pooja exclaimed.
Claiming herself to be a friend of Karan for 15 years, Pooja targeted the complainant calling her a tantrik who practices occult sciences like Voodoo and Witchcraft. She has also alleged that the complainant leads a few Social media groups where she talks about demon worship, werewolves, and blood sacrifice for resolving issues. Pooja claimed that the girl had also filed a similar case against another TV actor in 2008. According to Pooja, #MenToo will aim for protection of male identity till proven guilty.
A close associate of Karan Oberoi spoke to Afternoon Voice and said, “Initially, the girl and Karan were having an affair. Their relationship didn’t work out. The girl smartly planned the rape story and got Karan arrested in the manner in which he would be kept in police custody for 14 days. With the assistance of Mona Singh, she got Karan arrested. The woman performs black magic. Her identity has been concealed but Karan’s arrest report has been published in media. Karan’s reputation has been tarnished and he belongs to a military background. He is a family man, soft-spoken, and respectable person. All his friends are aware of this case. I am supporting Pooja Bedi’s #MenToo group.”
Also Read: #MenToo – An absolute need of the hour