The Kannada film fraternity has strongly criticised AMMA (Association Of Malayalam Movie Actors) for its decision to reinstate actor Dileep.
In a strongly-worded letter, members of the Kannada Film Industry (KFI) and the Film Industry for Rights & Equality (FIRE) said that AMMA’s decision was inappropriate as the rape survivor was a member of the organisation.
“Although we (KFI and FIRE) espouse the constitutional notion of ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ we deem AMMA’s reinstatement as even more inappropriate since the victim has been a member of the AMMA and the accused has yet to be acquitted of all wrongdoing,” read the letter.
“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.
Diganth, one of the actors who signed the letter, said that it is every artiste’s responsibility to make sure out that such actions do not go unchecked. “When you remain silent in the face of bad behaviour, you are only egging them on to do more. It is irresponsible on all our behalf to keep quiet when the establishment blatantly supports someone accused of rape. They essentially forced the victim to relive her circumstances. This is utterly condemnable,” he said.
Prakash Raj, too, stressed the need for a unified response to this matter. “Artists all over the country need to unite and fight this. What happened to the victim is cruel beyond belief, and for an organisation to endorse the accused, is plain evil.”
“We wholeheartedly accept the criticism being raised against the move. Some members who were not part of the annual general body meeting have announced their intention to leave the association. The AMMA leadership is willing to look at the sentiments behind this move,” he said through a statement.
Meanwhile, in an interview Silverscreen, Ramya Nambessan, who was among the first four actresses to resign from AMMA, said, “I’ve always fought for truth and justice, and I believe an organisation must be responsible and socially conscious. I was not around for the AMMA general body meeting on June 24. When we knew what transpired, some of us felt we had to register our protest. Many ask us why we should fight for the survivor, but any organisation is above individuals. Its basic responsibility is to protect members; the survivor is also a member.”
Read full interview here