Dance trainer’s dog-bite selfie blows up into ‘rape’ allegation against him

Written By Unknown on Sabtu, 08 November 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Merely sharing a selfie on a mobile messenger group has turned out to be nightmare for dance instructor Piyush Sen.

The well-known trainer, whose students have won several television dance shows, last Thursday shared a picture of his face with a bloody gash after his Saint Bernard accidentally bit him. Less than a week later, Sen got the shock of his life to find the same selfie, which he had shared only with his doctor and a closed group of friends, doing the rounds with the message that the injury was caused when he was caught trying to rape a student.

The message added that this was the third time something like this has happened to Sen.

By Thursday evening, the message was all over social networking sites and messenger groups. Over 700 parents, whose children learn dance at his various academies, had called him to check the veracity of the messages.

Sen, who was recuperating at a Kalyan hospital after getting 63 stitches on his face, had to plead with doctors to discharge him so he could go out and quell the rumours. By Friday evening, Piyush had personally met over 200 parents to tell them it was just a rumour.

"I was bombarded with calls on Wednesday," said Sen, who is on painkillers and speaks with difficulty. "Everybody wanted to know if I had committed the crime. I did not even understand what they were talking about until a parent came to meet me at the hospital and showed me the message."

Sen has filed a complaint with the Mahatma Phule police station in Kalyan, under whose jurisdiction his residence lies. Senior Inspector Dinesh Katke said, "We have started working on the complaint. We will seek the Cyber Cell's help and once they get to the bottom of things, we will register an offence."

While the perils of sharing intimate photos or text messages over phone are well known, this is one of those incidents where a simple act like seeking help in an emergency has been misused to malign a person. The incident occurred last Thursday night when Piyush accidentally stepped over Bravo, his two-year-old Saint Bernard, while walking towards the bathroom in the dark at his Kalyan home. "I didn't see him sleeping on the floor," said Sen, who shot to fame 15 years ago when he won the solo title in the dance show Boogie Woogie. "When I tripped, Bravo lunged and bit me on the face. I started bleeding and called up my doctor."

Sen also shot a selfie of his bloodied face and sent it to his doctor to check if he needed immediate medical attention. He also posted the picture on a Whatsapp group that has 30-odd members he knows from his dance classes.

Some friends came over and rushed Sen to a private hospital in Kalyan from where he was shifted to an Andheri hospital, where he was administered 63 stitches. He was then sent to the Kalyan hospital to recuperate. Unknown to him, the malicious message had started doing the rounds by then. Over the next six days, the message reached thousands of his students, their parents, school mates and even his friends in Bollywood.

"I was shocked to the core and insisted on getting discharged immediately," said Sen, sitting in his 5,000 sq feet dance academy in Kalyan. "Most people who know me have reposed faith in me, but there are those who are finding it difficult to believe that this is nothing but mischief. Several parents have approached me and said that if the allegations are proven they will stop sending their children. My reputation built over 16 years is at stake.

The stream of visitors at his home is never ending. As group after group of parents come visiting, Sen pops a painkiller and patiently explains the sequence of events.

"I have learned my lesson," said Sen, who graduated in IT engineering. "Social networking sites and chat applications may be great to communicate but it is also very important what you send out or say. I would appeal to others that they must very careful before posting anything personal as it can be misused." Sen,WhatsApp,dog bite selfie

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