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Snapshot
  • The Delhi sodomy case proves that minor or adult men who are victims of sexual assault are falsely implicated in rape cases by their perpetrators.

A shocking case has come to light in New Delhi where a 19-year-old male student was sexually assaulted by another man for months. When the victim finally raised his voiced against the abuse, the accused reportedly framed him in a false rape case.

The student, who was booked under the stringent POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act, is currently out on bail. His 58-year-old molester has been charged under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. This law, which deals with unnatural offences, was recently decriminalised for consenting adults.

The victim Anupam (name changed to protect identity) is a resident of Mayur Vihar in east Delhi. His detailed statement in the first information report (FIR) registered on 9 November, 2018 (a copy of which is with Swarajya) recounts the ordeal right from when he first met his tormentor in March this year.

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Anupam was in Class XII then. The two met on a street near his house. Anupam asked the "father" his name, to which he replied it was John (some newspapers have written the name, translated from Hindi, as 'Jon'). Anupam asked him which church he went to, to which John said he was not a 'father' at a church but runs a non-government organisation (NGO) that works in the area of human trafficking. When Anupam said he played piano at a church, John said he was looking for someone to teach piano to his three children, and shared his phone number and home address with him.

Anupam's statement further says that he went to John's house a few days later and found that he shared the house with two of his servants, their wives and children. Anupam taught the children to play the piano for a few days but stopped as his Class XII board exams began. It was only in July when his college started that Anupam resumed going to John's house.

John would tell Anupam about his trafficking cases and, on 3 August, make him join his NGO (it's named as ‘For the WCAR’ in the FIR but The Times of India has reported it as 'For the We'). Soon, John made him stop using Facebook and WhatsApp, told him to not consume non-vegetarian food and made him sign a "spiritual constitution".

John told him he would henceforth send Anupam money to come by Ola and that he loved him very much. Anupam said he also loved him but the way one would love his parent. But John soon started sending him text messages saying he loved him and would scold him a lot if he didn't reply.

He also asked Anupam to not talk to any of his friends anymore, and forcefully took away his other phone number, telling him that it was all for his "betterment".

John started threatening him that he had "proof" against him and that he worked with the CBI and Delhi police. He abused Anupam and threatened him to get his friends jailed under POCSO act.

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The FIR further says that John forcefully got him to sign on to a statement that he had had sex with a male friend and shared pornographic material with him. He also threatened Anupam with jail under POCSO for having sexual relations with a female batchmate if he did not visit him. So Anupam kept visiting John against his wishes.

One day, John "embraced him and brought him down" and behaved inappropriately. When Anupam protested saying he is not that kind of a man and wanted to leave, John allegedly threatened to ruin his life.

On another occasion, John told him that if one loved someone a lot, sexual desire was natural. When Anupam pleaded to let him go, John again forcefully brought him down and touched him inappropriately and said he wished to have sex with him.

When Anupam said he was going to tell his parents about everything, John punched him, abused him and beat him up after tying him up. He also threatened to have him thrown out of college if he disclosed anything.

Anupam's statement further says that John soon came to his house where he pushed him on the bed and assaulted him.

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Finally, Anupam told his mother about everything that happened in the past two months, after which John not only threatened both mother and son with jail but also went to his college to confront him.

At the same time, unknown to Anupam's family, parents of a five-year-old girl lodged a rape case against Anupam at Kamla Market police station (an area in New Delhi some 15 kilometres from Anupam's house). On 5 November, the police arrested Anupam and sent him to Tihar Jail on judicial custody.

It was only after the arrest that Anupam's parents approached the Kalyanpuri police station to say that their son was falsely implicated. Anupam's statement was recorded after bringing him out of jail on production warrant. A police officer at Kalyanpuri police station told Swarajya that Anupam had been given bail for writing his semester exams.

After Anupam’s FIR, John was arrested last week on 22 November. Apart from Section 377, he has been booked under Section 506 (criminal intimidation).

Anupam's neighbours told Swarajya that the family has temporarily shifted out of their rental accommodation to "somewhere else in Delhi". "We saw him [Anupam] the last time when the police came to arrest him, sometime around Diwali. We heard he got bail, but he has not returned since his arrest," said a neighbour. She said that she saw "Father John, who always dressed in a white kurta pyjama", visit the family several times but was not aware of any other detail. The neighbours said the family was “extremely polite” and never created any trouble.

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The landlord of the flat where John lived, Vijender Kumar told Swarajya that he was happy that thanks to the case, he got rid of his tenant. He informed that four-five years ago, he rented the flat to two men - Gangaram and Rajesh Kumar - who said they were brothers.

"The men lived with their families. Around a year ago, this Father John came to live with them. In fact, for the past six months, it was John who was paying me rent through cheques," he said.

Kumar said that several of his cheques bounced but when he took up the matter with John, the latter threatened him with a police case and jail. Vijender Kumar also said that he often saw John bring children to the flat saying they had been rescued. Asked if he sensed anything suspicious ever, Vijender said he did not and he was only concerned about the rent.

The police are probing if John was involved in more sexual assault crimes, as per a report by The Times of India. The report also says that investigation into the rape case on Anupam has revealed that he was framed and that cops are looking to get the false FIR quashed. Parents of the minor girl who filed the rape case are members of John's NGO.

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While it seems that the victim would get relief in the rape case, such incidents, where minor or adult men who are victims of sexual assault are falsely implicated in rape cases by their perpetrators, are routinely reported in the media.

Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj, a documentary filmmaker who focuses on men's issues, told Swarajya that in one such case in UP, a minor boy who was raped and sexually abused by an elderly woman died by committing suicide because she threatened him that if he told that to anyone, she would implicate him in a rape case.

“This case [Anupam’s] is a striking example of how men who are victims are branded and punished as perpetrators instead. We need gender-neutral rape laws to grant justice to men,” she said.

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While that's a matter of debate, it is to be noted that Indian laws do not recognise sexual assault or rape of men. While minor boys are covered under POCSO, adult men have recourse to only Section 377 to report sodomy and the case is entirely based on the principle of consent.

The laws placed burden on the men to prove both their innocence and the assault on them. Cases like Anupam's carry the burden of both.

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