Selling Sexual Wellness Products Online Too Hot To Handle For Government
Indian government has been infamous for banning and censoring a wide range of websites, but this latest one takes the cake – They are now banning sale of sex objects online, ‘openly’. The nation is certainly going to prigs with governments acting silly. Four major websites, including the leading online hotspot, Flipkart have been under the scanners of the newly formed Telangana state government.
The websites are said to have been displaying ‘objectionable content’. The other three websites, which the government is considering of putting a ban on, are imbesharam.com, thatspersonal.com and ohmysecrets.com.
Flipkart is being scrutinized too for having introduced a sexual wellness section in July last year. Other e-commerce sites like Snapdeal, Amazon and others also have similar sections and sell products like sex toys, kits, edible-lingerie, lubricants and condoms. They seem to not have caught the state government’s eye yet.
The government told Business Standard that they were considering the ban due to the rising crimes against women. Are they linking the sexual assaults in the country and the state to sex toys bought online. Really?
You mean a rapist first orders sex toys online and then goes ahead committing the point once he collects his parcel at the doorstep? We wonder where the state is heading to with heads thinking in this direction. The government, under its plan of action is looking at directing various Internet service providers to block the websites for violating the provisions of the IT Act 2000, as amended by amendment Act 2008.
The ISPs that are under the scanner include Airtel, Hathway, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications, Tata DoCoMo, Tata Indicom and Vodafone. The government is finding all sex toys and intimacy products too hot to handle.
Indian laws about the sale of sex toys have been unclear. As per the Indian Penal Code, whoever sells, allows to hire, distributes, publicly exhibits, makes, or has in his possession any obscene book, pamphlet, paper, drawing, painting, or figure or any other obscene object whatsoever, or advertises, or makes known by any means whatsoever that any such obscene object can be procured from or through any person, is punishable with imprisonment and fine.
As bizarre as it sounds, the avid thinkers behind the ban also feel that these websites should be blocked as people watching porn get instigated to commit such heinous crimes. In the menace, we took a quick look as to what these websites are all about, and why the chaos over it, and this is what we found:
- Imbesharam.com, which was started in July 2013 and endorsed by Sunny Leone has been celebrated for its lack of shame as the name suggests, and has been a huge store of adult lifestyle products in India. The store has its origins in Florida, as it was co-formed by two Indian Americans Salim Rajan and Raj Armani.
- Ohmysecrets.com was also started in 2013 in Chennai. The proud owner Vinodh Reddy claims that the online store has 15,000 people shopping daily.
- Thatspersonal.com is the newest in the circle, which was formed on January 2014. There are big techies who have invested in this website owned by Samir Saraiya. Investors and advisors for the website are Jaspreet Bindra (ex microsoft), DDW CEO Vikram Varma. Amrut Group of Companies chairman Abhay Bhalerao, former IAMAI Chairman Neville Taraporewalla and others.
The argument that porn websites lead to crime against women has been an age long debate. It is however strange to see governments think in the league acting half their age. The elected representatives of the state could certainly take better steps towards the raising crime rate, than banning the adult-themed websites. The government’s move, which if carried out, will have its repercussions in form of a major public outcry.