HYDERABAD: Taking suo motu cognisance of the controversy surrounding anchor-turned-actress, Sri Reddy, who has been protesting against casting couch in the Telugu Film Industry, the National Human Rights Commission on Thursday served notices on the State government and the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and sought their report in four weeks.
Hours after the NHRC notice, Movie Artists Association (MAA) addressed a media conference and lifted work ban on the actor.The notices were issued based on media reports which stated that there is no grievance redressal mechanism or a committee against sexual harassment of women artistes in the film industry. Responding to the notice, which directed the state government and film fraternity, MAA members have assured setting up of a committee to address grievances of female actors and women employees in the film industry, soon.
The NHRC stated in a press release that it felt that the contents of the media reports, if true, are tantamount to inaction on the part of the state government. The commission also said that it is of the opinion that the reported ban on the actress, barring her to act in the films and stopping others to work with her are violation of her right to livelihood and live a life with dignity.
Following Sri Reddy’s strip protest outside Movie Artists’ Association (MAA) office on Saturday to highlight casting couch, the MAA while dismissing her allegations declared that she will not be given membership under any circumstances. Further, it had warned action against those artists who share screen space with her. The actress was then booked under Sec 294 of the IPC (obscene act in a public place) after MAA filed a police complaint which also stated that action against her has been taken as per rules and they have the right to deny membership to her. The Commission also opposed the police case and said that this appears to muzzle the voice of whistle blower both from MAA and the State authorities. It also reminded that all enterprises should abide to the rules laid down in the Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and this applies to Telugu film industry too.
For several weeks now, Sri Reddy has been stating across various media channels that women who aspire to become actresses have to go through casting couch to land roles in films. Sri Reddy accused some prominent people in the industry of sexually exploiting her.She even leaked intimate pictures of her with Abhiram, son of a famous producer Suresh Babu saying that he exploited her. She had also leaked WhatsApp chat with leading producer Kona Venkat.