Fighting reinstatement fire with fire

Ever since the news broke out that Malayalam actor Dileep, who is currently being investigated on charges of conspiracy for allegedly masterminding the abduction and sexual assault of an actress in February 2017, is being reinstated into Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA), the move has been under fire and several bodies are accusing this reinstatement of being anti-women in sentiment. While some members of AMMA quit the organisation, many are pressing to withdraw its decision. Even the Kannada Film Industry (KFI) and Film Industry for Rights and Equality (FIRE), comprising of at least 50 members, including actors and technicians have written to AMMA. However, there has been no response as yet. Bengaluru Chronicle reports.

In its dissent note to AMMA, the members of the Kannada Film Industry and Film Industry for Rights & Equality, have expressed outrage and disappointment regarding a decision taken to reinstate Dileep.

“We are not passing judgement on the accused actor’s guilt or innocence. We are questioning AMMA’s move to reinstate the actor while the case is still under investigation, and the message that such a move sends out. All we ask for is a mutually respectful, safe and healthy working environment,” says actress Sruthi Hariharan, who adds that unfortunately, AMMA hasn’t yet responded to their plea.

Actor Chetan of the Aa Dinagalu fame feels that it is the courts that have the onus to pass a judgement on the alleged criminal acts, but reinstating the accused before any verdict sends the wrong message.

“AMMA, a body with a history of reputable work, has shockingly and unfortunately reinstated Dileep, who was expelled in 2017 for being the primary accused on abduction and sexual assault charges booked under 17 sections of the Indian Penal Code,” the letter stated. It further added that though KFI & FIRE espouse the Constitutional notion of ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ they deem AMMA’s reinstatement as even more inappropriate since the victim has been a member of AMMA and the accused has yet to be acquitted of all wrongdoing.

“With issues like women’s safety and gender equality being at the forefront of national debate, our cinema industries have strong responsibilities to blaze exemplary trails for the rest of society,” it added.

While they have urged the body to revoke its judgment to reinstate Dileep until all charges are cleared, and uphold the moral compasses, the Kannada film industry hopes for sincere action from AMMA, in building a safe and healthy working environment for all.

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