The Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF), a men's rights NGO, recently organised a three-day International Conference on Men's Issues in Hinjewadi, Pune. During the conference, they resolved to silently protest against the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill.
Anil Murty, co-founder of SIFF, voiced his apprehensions, saying, "The implementation of women's reservation in any constituency could potentially infringe upon Article 14, affecting every male citizen in India, as men may find it challenging to nominate themselves for Assembly or Lok Sabha elections." In response to this concern, he affirmed that they would "quietly stage protests outside nomination centres after the Bill is implemented." Additionally, he stressed, "Prior to the enactment of the Women's Reservation Bill, the government should address institutional discrimination against men by rendering domestic violence, stalking, sexual harassment, and rape laws gender-neutral."
The conference witnessed the participation of over 300 attendees and deliberated on the escalating incidence of male suicides. Citing data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) from 2021, Murty underscored the significant surge in suicides among married men, which escalated from 68,815 in 2019 to 83,063 in 2021. In contrast, suicides among married women remained relatively consistent at approximately 28,000 per year for the last 15 years. Murty raised questions about the substantial gap in suicide rates between men and women despite claims of male privilege. He predicted that "if this trend continues, the annual suicides among married men could surpass 100,000 in the coming years."
Murty also drew attention to the mental health challenges faced by men due to the stress associated with marital problems and legal battles, often resulting in job loss and career setbacks. He criticised the adversarial nature of court proceedings, which exacerbates marital issues, and highlighted the inefficacy of court mediations in resolving these disputes.
The SIFF co-founder accused feminists of remaining silent when men face sexism, toxicity, and institutional discrimination, despite their claims to be combating patriarchy and toxic masculinity.
When asked if it is challenging to persuade people about these concerns, Murty noted that it is not difficult, particularly among educated individuals and politicians. He mentioned that certain segments of the judiciary also grasp these concerns but are hesitant to openly address them.
Conference organiser Sameer Goel advocated for equal financial contributions within marriages, proposing that this principle should also extend to alimony. He recommended that couples establish a joint corpus fund with equal contributions before marriage, which could be accessed in case of separation or divorce, especially if one spouse experiences job loss.
During the conference, a puja was conducted to "celebrate Elon Musk as the god of free speech." According to Murty, since Musk assumed control of X (formerly Twitter), they have been able to express themselves more freely, with their tweets no longer being flagged as anti-women or removed, leading them to hail Musk as the god of free speech.