Reacting to molestation and abuse charges filed by Bollywood actress Preity Zinta against her ex-beau and businessman, Ness Wadia, Indian feminists on Saturday demanded that he be arrested immediately.
Zinta had filed a case against Wadia, alleging that he had molested and abused her at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium during an Indian Premier League (IPL) match in May.
Maharashtra State Women Commission Chitra Wagh said:"Whether there is any misbehaviour towards Preity Zinta or any other celebrity woman in the country, the accused should be punished severely. We have given the police an ultimatum of 24 hours to finish all related enquiries and arrest the criminal and present him before the court."
Congress Party leader Shobha Oza said in Bhopal, "It is not important against which women the harassment is taking place, it is more important to know who the criminal is. Until there is a change in the thought-process of men here, until they stop thinking of women as an inferior sex, whether she is an actress or a menial worker, any female will be a target for harassment."
National Commission for Women (NCW) Chairperson Mamta Sharma said, "Basically, they are co-partners for the Punjab team. They have also been together for a long time. They broke up in 2009. I feel that no man has the right to touch or behave badly with a woman. Nevertheless, let the investigations take place,then only we will know how far the allegations are true."
Preity Zinta is the co-owner of Kings XI Punjab cricket team of the Indian Premier League series (IPL).
Reportedly, the actress and the businessman had broken their five-year long relationship sometime back.
Although a rape is reported in India every 21 minutes on average, law enforcement failures mean that such crimes - a symptom of pervasive sexual and caste oppression - are often not reported or properly investigated, human rights groups say.
Sex crimes against young girls and women are widespread in India. Victims are often females from poor, marginalised, low-caste communities.
Women's rights experts and lawyers say rape victims also have to endure harsh treatment from an archaic, poorly funded and insensitive criminal justice system.