Thiruvananthapuram: Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) today demanded an emergency executive meeting of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (A.M.M.A) to discuss the row over the decision to take back actor Dileep into its fold.
Dileep, an accused in the case of alleged sexual assault of a south Indian actress in February 2017, was behind bars for over 80 days, and is presently out on bail.
After the incident, Dileep had been removed from the association’s primary membership.
But in a sudden move, A.M.M.A reinstated his membership last Sunday, triggering widespread protests.
The actress, who was assaulted, had resigned yesterday with three others too putting in their papers in solidarity with her.
In a letter to A.M.M.A today, prominent actors — Revathy, Parvathy and Padmapriya, who are members of the collective of women in Malayalam film industry, demanded that A.M.M.A convene a meeting immediately to examine the desirability of Dileep’s reinstatement.
“We are writing this letter to express our concern as women members of A.M.M.A on the recent decision to bring back the expelled member (Dileep) in the general body meeting held on July 24.
At this meeting, a very crucial decision was taken regarding a member who had been expelled due to his involvement in the alleged assault of one of the A.M.M.A’s women members,” the letter said.
“Considering the gravity of the circumstances and the matter being sub-judice, it is shocking that such an important matter was decided without listing it on the agenda or being discussed among all members prior to the meeting,” they said in the letter posted on the WCC Facebook page today.
They said A.M.M.A had publicly pledged full support to the member who survived the assault.
But the decision to reinstate the expelled member, who is now a charge-sheeted suspect, goes against A.M.M.A’s promise to the survivor.
State ministers, G Sudhakaran, J Mercykutty Amma and Kerala Women’s Commission Chairperson M C Josephine too came out in support of the stand taken by the actors who resigned yesterday from A.M.M.A.
They also took exception to the supportive stand taken by the two left MLAs — K B Ganesh Kumar, Mukesh — and MP Innocent, all members of the association, on the matter.
In a scathing attack on A.M.M.A, Josephine today said the film body’s “decision” to take back Dileep, who is an accused in the case of actor’s sexual assault, was “not right.”
Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said A.M.M.A’s decision showed the ‘misogynistic attitude’ of the Malayalam film industry in its worst form, while Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty said those who have done wrong should be punished, however high they may be, and the government was always with the victim.
Lashing out at Dileep, PWD Minister G Sudhakaran said he was ‘arrogance personified’ and alleged a lobby was controlling the Malayalam film industry.
Senior Congress leader V M Sudheeran said A.M.M.A’s decision was akin to questioning the legal system.
“This is a very wrong decision and should be rectified as soon as possible by the office bearers.”
The actress, who was sexually assaulted in a moving car last year, had resigned from A.M.M.A yesterday alleging that the organisation had not stood by her during the crisis.
The actor, who has worked in Tamil and Telugu films, was allegedly abducted and molested in her car for two hours by the accused, who had forced their way into the vehicle on the night of February 17, 2017 and later escaped in a busy area.