Tanushree Dutta, the US-based former Bollywood actress, said she was hardly surprised by the Maharashtra Police’s move to file a closure report in her complaint of sexual harassment by actor Nana Patekar and said the #MeToo movement’s aim is not to win justice for the victims via the legal machinery.
She alleged that ‘a corrupt police force and legal system’ had given a clean chit to Nana Patekar.
“I’m not surprised or shocked, because right in the beginning, when I was doing the FIR, I knew that I have no hope for justice; the reason being that ten years ago, I saw how the police handled the whole thing,” Dutta said, referring to her first attempt to file an FIR against Nana Patekar, immediately after the commotion at the sets of “Horn ‘OK’ Pleassss”.
Dutta has, since the controversy broke again, shifted her base to the US. However, she said, she has not forgotten how things work in India.
“I know how the police and the court system works in India. I was born in that country and I grew up there. I know what happens to these complains by women when they go and complain about harassment, abuse or rape or whatever. Even rape cases don’t see the light of the day. There’s no justice, especially when the accused have money power, muscle power and influence.
“This was a harassment case. Harassment cases in India have the lowest known instances of convictions, and the police don’t even take it seriously. They didn’t even do investigation on it before closing the case. How can they close the case when eight of our witnesses are yet to give their statements.”
Dutta also took objection to the court terming her complaint ‘false and malicious’, alleging that her witnesses did not make their statements because of intimidation by the accused.
Speaking to CNN News18, she said eight of her witnesses did not turn up to record their statements. “They say they will come, and the lawyer’s assistant will wait at the police station, and then, they’ll not show up.”
“How can he make such a statement when our witnesses have not even been allowed to make a statement. So, clearly this is a game plan to get the accused off-the-hook..,” she alleged.
She said the law and order machinery in India was compromised. “On the surface they show they are supporting, but their game plan is the same, to protect these kind of people…”
MeToo and Law
Dutta also said that the setback should not discourage other women who want to take to social media to make allegations. The aim of #MeToo was not to bring the culprits to justice using the law, she said.
“The #MeToo movement was never about getting justice from the police and courts anyways.
“If the police and courts were so effective at bringing about justice, then why would there be a need for any kind of social cleansing movements like #MeToo. #MeToo is a social media movement. When police and courts fail to give justice to victims, that is when these movements crop up in society.”
She also discounted the lack of evidence in such cases.
“Just because we are not able to provide proof doesn’t mean that the crime didn’t happen… truth and justice are sometimes at the opposite ends of the same pole.”