17th September 2023,Mumbai: A Controversial Accusation
In a surprising turn of events, renowned Kerala travel vlogger Shakeer Suban, popularly known as ‘Mallu Traveler’ on YouTube with over 2.7 million subscribers, finds himself entangled in a legal controversy. Suban, currently on tour in Canada, has been accused of sexually harassing a 29-year-old Saudi woman during her visit to Kochi. In a YouTube video released from Canada, Suban vehemently denied the allegations, asserting that the accuser and her male partner, both hailing from Kerala, had ulterior financial motives behind their actions.
The Allegations and Legal Actions
The incident led to an official complaint against Suban, resulting in an FIR filed under sections 354 and 354 (A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). These sections pertain to assaulting or using criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty and engaging in unwelcome and explicit sexual behavior. Ernakulam Central police initiated an investigation into the case and announced their intention to question the accused.
Suban’s Version of Events
Shakeer Suban’s defense centers around a YouTube video he posted from Canada, where he refutes the accusations against him. He claims that the Saudi woman and her male companion had presented themselves as avid fans and initiated contact with him. Suban alleges that they later visited his home uninvited, seeking financial assistance and promotional support. According to him, the woman had arrived from Saudi Arabia with a substantial sum, which they had depleted during their time in India. Her partner was reportedly unemployed at the time.
The Financial Motive
Suban alleges that the primary objective of the Saudi woman and her partner was to solicit financial favors from him or to leverage his online presence for their benefit. He asserts that their visit to his Kochi hotel room on September 13 was not consensual, and he characterizes their actions as an attempt to extract financial assistance from him.
Countering the Accusations
Suban adamantly denies any wrongdoing and claims that the accusations were fabricated with the intention of gaining ‘reach’ and attention on social media. He asserts that CCTV footage from the hotel shows the couple entering and exiting the premises together, supporting his contention that the encounter was consensual. He pledges to present all available evidence to vindicate himself in court.
The Complainant’s Perspective
In contrast, the complainant, in her video statement, alleges that Suban molested her during a moment when her partner had briefly left the hotel room. She stresses her knowledge of the law and asserts that no one has the right to touch another person’s body without explicit consent. Her actions not only include lodging a complaint with the police but also notifying the Saudi authorities in India about the incident.
Legal Battle Amidst the Online Spotlight
The allegations against Shakeer Suban, the ‘Mallu Traveler,’ have thrown him into a legal battle that may significantly impact his online presence and reputation. As the investigation unfolds, both parties present contrasting narratives, with Suban claiming a financial motive behind the accusations and the complainant asserting her right to dignity and personal safety. This incident serves as a reminder of the complexities surrounding online personalities and their interactions with fans, emphasizing the importance of ethical conduct and clear boundaries in the digital age. The legal process will ultimately determine the veracity of the allegations, but the incident already highlights the challenges faced by prominent content creators when navigating the blurred lines between public and private life.
-by Kashvi Gala