KOCHI: Women personalities of Malayalam cinema have joined issue with two actors who defended actor Dileep in relation to the abduction and sexual assault of a Malayalam leading lady back in February.
Women in Cinema Collective, an association of women in Malayalam cinema comprising leading actors such as Manju Warrier, Parvaty and film editor Beena Paul, condemned statements made against the actress who was sexually assaulted in a moving vehicle in Kochi on February 17.
The Women in Cinema Collective's criticism was specifically directed at comments made by actors Salim Kumar and Aju Varghese with regard to the case.
In a statement posted on Facebook Tuesday, the group said that since the case is pending in court, it is illegal and disrespectful to cast aspersions on the character of the victim.
The post said, "After Parliament adopted the 2013 J S Varma Committee report, it is a serious offence to name and cast aspersions on a victim of sexual assault. Degrading an individual who is a complainant in a court case amounts to challenging the legal system and the Constitution. It is also unforgivable to cast doubts on an individual who has survived sexual assault. The Women in Cinema Collective condemns such statements that insult a woman. Since such acts are illegal and a violation of human rights, the Women in Cinema Collective requests the public and film personalities in particular to refrain from making such comments."
The post came in the context of a row over remarks by Salim Kumar and Aju Varghese expressing support for actor Dileep. Salim Kumar had said that recent incidents were a concerted effort to tarnish the image of Dileep and demanded that both the accused and the complainant be subjected to a lie-detector test. Salim Kumar has since apologised for the comment and removed his post from Facebook.
Aju Varghese, who too voiced his support for Dileep, apologised on Facebook for naming the victim.