By Sharanya Gopinathan
A trial court in Maharashtra just acquitted Bollywood singer Ankit Tiwari (dude who sang Sun Raha Hain Na from Aashiqui 2) in a rape case. It doesn’t sound like a straightforward case to us.
The woman filed a case against Tiwari in May 2014. She alleged that he had raped her several times between 2012 and 2013 with the false promise of marriage. Tiwari was acquitted by the court on Thursday after the victim and other witnesses disowned their statements against him earlier in April. This becomes doubly worrying when you realise that Tiwari’s brother had also been accused of threatening the woman after the case was filed.
It was because of the redaction of these statements and lack of other evidence that Tiwari was acquitted. Considering that this is a situation involving a man with considerably greater influence (Mahesh Bhatt congratulated him soon after his acquittal) being accused by a woman in a position of less power to him, and given the fact that there were allegations of the woman being threatened by family members of the accused, you begin to feel like there may very likely be more to her redaction than immediately meets the eye.
Worse still, the court seems to have applied some strange logic when making the judgement. They factored in the delay in filing the FIR, which was six months after the rape took place. The court said that while delay in filing an FIR is usually not of significance and is an allowance afforded to rape victims due to trauma and associated stigma, the court questions a married woman applying such allowances.
Sorry, what? This sounds to us like the court subtly propagating a kind of stigma it refers to, or at least subscribing to it itself. What distinction does the court draw between married and unmarried people to imply or assume that a stigma applies more to one than the other? Why would there be a difference in how a married and unmarried woman feel about or react to a rape? What is marriage supposed to lend a rape victim that helps her file an FIR more quickly than an unmarried woman? Beats us.
But if there are truthful answers to these questions, Ankit Tiwari assures us that they will surface. Soon after the verdict, he posted this tweet on social media:
Three things can not be long hidden; Sun, Moon & the Truth.
— Ankit Tiwari (@officiallyAnkit) April 30, 2017