When 36-year-old Manoj Kumar, employed in an IT company, committed suicide leaving a suicide note that his wife and mother-in-law harassed him, there was a section of people who did not treat it as another death that we come across every day. Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF) took out a peaceful march on Saturday to ‘claim their right as equals in a society which today seems biased towards women.’ Virag Dhulia, head of Gender Studies with Confidare Research and an active member of SIFF says, “The candle light march was to create awareness among people that even men are harassed. We want to be there for men who are in distress and harassed. They shouldn’t feel depressed thinking that there is no option for them.” Virag has been dealing with a lot of men who have been victimised with such cases. He says, “I have attended at least 2,500 cases in the past five years and the rate is increasing day by day. Men are scared of getting into any kind of relationship with women.”
Subramani, coordinator of Vimochana, a forum for Women’s Rights, said that though there are 85 percent of women who are harassed, there are few men who have equally been harassed. “Some women are taking advantage of the law, which is more favourable towards them. Women negotiate because they feel law is in their favour.” he says.
DCP (West) D C Rajappa said, “As of now, when we get such cases, we counsel them. Unlike women, there is no special provision like IPC 498 A to safeguard the interest of men or to book the wife for harassment.”