It only takes one rotten apple to spoil the bunch. As much as I am an advocate for feminism, I am aware of the reality that it is often taken to extreme lengths by some for their personal gain. Essentially giving a bad name to the feminist movement, which is nothing but a call for equality, they use it as an excuse for male bashing. Often times this potentially ruins the lives of those accused under false grounds.
Sarvjeet Singh Bedi has been caught in the crosshairs of one such act for the last 3 years after he was tagged a sexual harasser.
A woman, Jasleen Kaur, named and shamed Sarvjeet Singh for having allegedly made obscene comments at her while at a traffic signal in Delhi.
This man shamelessly made obscene remarks at me today in Tilak Nagar. Vehicle no. with IO. Action? @DCP_North_Delhi pic.twitter.com/xFrOdwHiJC
— Jasleen Kaur (@JasleenKaur89) August 23, 2015
Apart from the tweet seen here, she wrote a lengthy Facebook post detailing the incident wherein she alleged when she warned him that she was taking a photograph of him to file a complaint against him, he had responded by saying: “Jo kar sakti hai kar le. Complaint kar ke dikha, phir dekhiyo kya karta hun mein.”
Her post went viral on social media with even celebrities lauding Jasleen for coming forward. Mainstream media spoke about the incident in depth, adding to Sarvjeet’s plight.
And though the Delhi Police proceeded to arrest Sarvjeet within a days time, he managed to put out his version of the incident before it happened:
Jasleen’s version of the incident soon began to unravel as eye-witnesses came out in support of Sarvjeet. Even Sonakshi Sinha, who had initially spoken in support of Jasleen, later apologised to Sarvjeet for having made a misinformed judgement.
Some even questioned that Jasleen, who was an avid Aam Aadmi Party supporter, had pulled the stunt to gain publicity.
Agar main nahi hota toh koi aur hota,use(Jasleen) toh bas famous hona tha-Sunny,accused in eve teasing case pic.twitter.com/HYu0EbIYCp
— ANI (@ANI) August 25, 2015
Soon enough, people who initially spoke against him started questioning Jasleen’s version of the story. However, the police proceeded with the case.
Now, 3 years since it all began, Sarvjeet’s life is at a standstill due to the case. According to The Print, he says he’s been unable to find a stable job due to his ‘criminal record’:
“Soon after the incident, the company I was working with asked me to leave. We used to produce labels for branded clothes and had international clients. My boss told me that the company’s name was being tainted as the news had spread to our international clients as well.
I then took up a job at a marriage bureau that was paying me 40 per cent less than what I was earning earlier, but I had no option.”
The same happened at his 2nd and 3rd job, where he was asked to quit due to him frequently taking leaves for his court hearings. He says:
“The third company chucked me out because each time I had a hearing, I had to take leave. They never respected me and looked at me as if I was a criminal. One day I was asked to leave and come back only after I was declared innocent.”
The most frustrating part, however, is that the arguments in the case against him are yet to begin as Jasleen has failed to attend even a single one of the hearings.
There have been 13 sessions in 3 years and she has been absent in every single one of them. He says:
“Each time I go to the court for the hearing, they call out my name, ask me to put my hand up and write down my name. They ask if the complainant has come. Because she is absent, another date is given and the matter is dismissed. This has been happening for the past three years.”
And while Sarvjeet has to appear at the police station every time he needs to leave the city, Jasleen is allegedly pursuing her studies in Canada. Sarvjeet says this is what her father claims every time at the court as the reason for her absence.
As news of Sarvjeet’s continued troubles resurfaced, an ex-Times Now reporter, who is said to have broken the news back in 2015, apologised to him. However, Sarvjeet says he has no qualms with the reporter and would rather the channel (whose editor-in-chief was Arnab Goswami at the time) apologise to him:
“The journalist was just an employee of the Times Group who was doing his job. It is the channel and its editor who should issue an apology.
They called me a national pervert, delhi ka darinda (Delhi’s demon) and what not. That was not the employee’s fault but an editorial call.”
He also posted the messages sent to him by the former reporter, urging Indian media to verify news before sensationalising it:
Its a request to all news channels…Agar dunia (log) aap channels (news channels) ko dekhte hai to wo us new per…
Unhappy with his lawyer, who had been assigned to him by legal aid, Sarvjeet approached the judge directly to request him to finalise the case.
Following his plea, the judge has issued a bailable warrant against Jasleen:
finally judge has issued bailable warrant against her. And court me ane ke liye ladki ke father saab ko last date di… (father saab ko isliye di date coz girl abhi bhi out of country hai)
While we cannot judge what is the truth of the incident that occurred 3 years ago, the impact it has had on Sarvjeet’s life is unfair. When making such an accusation against someone, it is the responsibility of the complainant to appear in court on the said dates and ensure a speedy trial. We hope the bailable warrant issued this time will ensure Sarvjeet is served justice soon.