Padma awardee and former MLC Laxman Mane, who was accused of rape by six women at his ashramshala, is now busy penning a book on the issue. Currently out on bail, Mane says its high time men were also given protection in law and not just women.
Eyebrows were raised a few months ago after Mane, who is known for his decades-long work with progressive movement, was accused of sexually exploiting women at his ashramshala in Satara. Mane remained missing for long after the women approached the police and lodged complaint. He appeared before the police only after his interim bail application was rejected and his political mentor and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar advised him publicly to present himself before the police and allow the law to take its own course.
Mane spent almost three months behind bars before he was granted bail. He held a press conference in Pune on Thursday to protest the beating up of a woman after she was alleged to be a thief and was tied to a tree. But when dna asked him about charges against him, Mane tried to put up a brave face.
“I would prefer to not speak much on it just yet since the matter is sub judice. I will be writing about it in a book,” said Mane who is also an accomplished writer.
A little more probing and Mane said it was time we revisited the rape laws. “Lawmakers are not experts in these matters and at times one feels they were doing grass. Women have all the tools in their hands and men have none,” he said.
He claimed that he came across several young men while in prison who were charged with rape and believed they were wrongly framed just as he was. “Many told me they had never raped the women they were accused of and it was consensual sex, but it was projected as rape. Sometimes women leveled those charges to get married to them,” Mane said.
Speaking about his own cases, Mane said that one never knew what he did some 10-20 years ago would come to visit him at this age. “There needs to be some kind of a time limit about when a rape charge can be leveled. Such charges should be investigated thoroughly before an official complaint is lodged,” he said.
”These charges are of very sensitive nature and no one can help you…no minister…no politician…everyone is scared they could be made co-accused in case they helped,” he said.