Why Police Clean Chit To Nana Patekar Isn’t End Of The #MeToo Movement

Posted: June 17, 2019

A closure report submitted by the Mumbai Police has given Nana Patekar a clean chit in the Tanushree Dutta sexual harassment case. Does this mean an end to the #MeToo movement in India?

Recently CJI Ranjan Gogoi was given a clean chit in sexual harassment allegations against him. Surprisingly it was done by a three-judge in-house committee of the Supreme Court which was set up by Gogoi himself. Not just this another enquiry was set up: to examine the “larger conspiracy” of vested interests behind the complaint. Besides this, in sexual harassment cases against powerful names like minister MJ Akbar and actor Alok Nath, the accused were given anticipatory bail, and the main response was to dismiss charges and cast aspersions on the accuser.

Now the Tanushree Dutta and Nana Patekar case that was the pioneer of the #MeToo movement in India has also seen a huge setback. The closure report submitted by the Mumbai police gave him a clean chit in a molestation case filed against him.

The police took this decision on the fact of a “lack of evidence”. They even claimed that Tanushree’s complaint could have been filed to seek revenge and that it seems “malicious and fake”. Nana Patekar has also accused actress Tanushree Dutta of filing a “false case”.

A timeline

In 2008, the actress had filed a complaint against Nana Patekar, saying that he had behaved inappropriately with her on the sets of Horn Ok Pleassss (2008). She claimed that while shooting a special sequence she was being touched inappropriately by the actor.

In October last year, Tanushree filed an FIR against Nana. Following this, police interrogated the witnesses and started a fresh investigation.

The police has closed the case because of “lack of evidence”. In the closure report, they suggested that Dutta only discussed concerns of monetary loss caused to her as a result of walking out of the film in the first FIR in 2008 and in the complaint with CINTAA.

Tanushree Dutta’s statement

After getting the news Tanushree Dutta has slammed the Mumbai Police and has claimed that the actor had bribed the police. According to Tanushree’s statement, “The Mumbai Police lied in its report to the court that my complaint with CINTAA did not have sexual harassment in it. They were given the copy of my handwritten 2008 complaint to CINTAA that clearly mentioned sexual harassment corroborating my 2018 FIR. CINTAA had issued a written apology for not addressing that complaint.”

Regarding the lack of evidence she added, “I have said it earlier that witnesses, in this case, have been threatened and pressured so that they do not record their statements with the police. Thus, out of 10 witnesses, only one-and-a-half statements have been recorded. And they had Janice Sequeira and Shyni Shetty giving witness testimony in my favour. What more proof does one need to prove harassment? They produced bogus witnesses to corroborate with the accused and mislead the investigation.”

Trolled by supporters of Nana Patekar

Although the actress has said that she won’t leave the fight this easy and will appeal against the closure, Patekar’s fans on Twitter have already started targetting Dutta.

They have started accusing Dutta of tarnishing Nana’s image for “revenge” and self-benefit. They have even started to call the entire #MeToo movement an attempt to tarnish men for self-benefit. This entire incident has raised many questions.

Why “lack of evidence” doesn’t mean the case is over

Tanushree has claimed that the police didn’t investigate the case properly.

The world shouldn’t be baffled if a sexual harassment case is closed because of ‘lack of evidence’.

In the world of sexual harassment cases where the defendant is clearly at fault are rare. What is more common found is that different versions of events are narrated by the two sides in a sexual harassment case.

The very nature of a sexual harassment case means that there is often no or very rare direct or circumstantial evidence; it’s not like all harassment cases are recorded on camera. That shouldn’t mean that the sexual harassment case did not take place and that the accuser is lying.

#MeToo movement is not dead

We need to understand a few things about this:

Police have closed case, not a court decision

The court has not given a proper judgement, and it’s just the police which has closed the case. In this way calling Nana Patekar actually guilty or labelling Tanushree’s complaint as “fake and malicious” is not fair.

One case does not make or break the #MeToo movement

It is also not right judging the entire #MeToo movement is not right. A movement on this one instance – the movement is not built by one person. It belongs equally to all those who carry it forward.

Given a voice to women to speak up without fear

The #MeToo movement has played an important role in giving voice to women and it shouldn’t stop. Whatever the case is, there should be a proper investigation so that women don’t feel scared of speaking up.

Workplaces have woken up to make them safer for women

The #MeToo movement has caused scores of women to speak out. Because of this many fields of work including the entertainment industry began to take steps and measures to make workplaces safer for women.

Stop asking women why they didn’t speak up earlier

In the end, as a society, we should not ask why women have come out 10-15 years later. It takes a lot of courage to speak out. So more power to all the women who speak out against anything wrong.

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