Mumbai, Aug 2 IANS | 5 months ago

The Shiv Sena shifted into damage control mode soon after a controversial editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana' was condemned by various sections of society Saturday.

The edit, which appears to willy nilly support a senior Mumbai IPS officer Sunil Paraskar accused of raping a model, attempted to dilute the allegations (against him) by saying it had recently become a "fashion" to charge men with rape.

"Accusing men of molestation and making rape charges in the hi-fi society and creating a hype about them is on the rise now. It has almost become like a fashion," the edit said, inviting a wave of protests from different sections of society.

This prompted Shiv Sena youth leader Aditya Thackeray to intervene and explain that actually the edit was "a comprehensive argument on why 'rape', although one of the worst crimes, should be carefully tried in courts and not in the media."

He said there were instances of families being broken, people committing suicide and others being defamed due to the media trials, even though the accused were later acquitted by the courts.

Claiming that such accusations have become good weapons in personal vendettas, the 'Saamana' edit said that after serving in the police force for decades, because of the charges levelled by one model, the deputy inspector-general of police had overnight become a villain.

Thackeray defended the edit even as he called for strict rape laws and the harshest punishment for the perpetrators. "There is not a question of siding with anyone. The truth in accusations must come out. However, it is important trials are conducted by the courts and NOT media. Media trials lead to false impressions even if the accused is acquitted later," he said.

The edit said that despite new (anti-rape) laws being made after the shameful Nirbhaya incident, cases of rape have not decreased.

Besides, it claimed that all the laws in the country favour women who can slap any charge against anybody and it was upto the judiciary to be alert and ensure justice to the innocent.

The Thackeray scion said that the edit was clearly in favour of harshest punishment to those guilty of rape, like in the Nirbhaya case, or Shakti Mills (gang rape cases).

The truth would come out in due course of time, but in the meantime, 'media trials' in such cases damage the morale of the accused, he said.

(Posted on 02-08-2014)

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