The faultlines in the Malayalam film industry have widened to fissures after the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) took back rape accused Dileep in their organisation.
On Thursday, WCC members and actors Revathy, Padmapriya, and Parvathy submitted letters to AMMA, asking for an emergency executive meeting about the film body's decision to reinstate Dileep.
The post on the WCC page begins with a note asserting their solidarity with the survivor:
"In solidarity with our colleagues who took a brave stand yesterday! Always #Avalkoppam.
We at WCC believe that constructive dialogue as well as action is essential for real change. Each one of us are shocked at the decision made at the previous general body meeting of AMMA. Hence we as AMMA members have sought a meeting with the new executive committee as explained in our letter. All members of AMMA had condemned that heinous act of assault on the survivor. All members of AMMA had pledged complete support to the survivor. But this last decision of AMMA directly contradicts all of that. Hence we want to know where AMMA really stands on this issue.
Sharing the official letter sent to AMMA !"
In the letter addressed to Edavela Babu, the General Secretary of AMMA, the members have questioned how the decision to take back Dileep was made without it being listed on the agenda. They have further said that they were not in town when the meeting was held and that they would have surely opposed the move had they been present.
Calling for an emergency Executive meeting, the members have put forth four demands to AMMA, including asking what the film body had done in support of the survivor and how the bye-laws are structured to protect the welfare of its members.
The move comes after the events of Wednesday when core members of the Women in Cinema Collective - actors Rima Kallingal, Remya Nambeeshan, director Geethu Mohandas, and the survivor in the case - resigned in protest from AMMA.
The four women are also part of the WCC which was instituted after one of them was abducted and brutally assaulted in February 2017. While AMMA had initially appeared to support the survivor, the narrative soon changed after the police arrested Dileep for being the mastermind behind the conspiracy.
Dileep was denied bail twice and he faced a massive public backlash soon after the arrest. However, since then, several prominent members of the Malayalam film industry have thrown their weight behind him, asserting that he could not have done what he stands accused of. This, even as the police investigation was underway.
In their respective resignation letters, Rima, Remya, Geethu, and the survivor had each noted their disappointment with AMMA and the conduct of its members. Actor Rima Kallingal had slammed the film body's insensitivity in an interview with Reporter TV in which she had cited how the Malayalam film industry had ridiculed the WCC repeatedly, with little consideration for the survivor's state of mind.
Read the full letter below:
Shree Edavela Babu,
General Secretary, AMMA
We are writing this letter to express our concern as women members of AMMA on the recent decision to bring back the expelled member (Dileep) in the general body meeting held on 24th July 2018. At this meeting, a very crucial decision was taken regarding a member who was expelled due to his involvement in the alleged assault of one of AMMA's women members. 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.
AMMA had publicly pledged full support to the member who survived the assault but the decision taken at the said meeting for reinstating the expelled member who is now a charge sheeted suspect, goes against the promise made by AMMA to the survivor.
As a result, yesterday, the survivor has resigned and in solidarity with her three other women members have also resigned. They have clearly stated their reasons and this does not reflect well on AMMA and what it does for the welfare of its women members. We as members of AMMA urge that AMMA upholds the promise it has made and should not go back on its word. Particularly so as this matter is still under legal and media scrutiny and there is strong public outcry about it.
We were unable to attend the said meeting as we were not in station and were unaware about this matter being discussed at the meeting. (If we had known we would have surely raised our concerns at the meeting prior to such a decision being made).
We understand from AMMA officials that under such exceptional circumstances there is a provision for an Emergency Executive Body Meeting to be called to address our concerns. We request for the same to be called so that we may participate, discuss & understand:
1. The expelled member's reinstatement & the implications of AMMA's decision.
2. The steps taken by AMMA to support the survivor.
3. How AMMAs bye-laws are structured to ensure welfare of all its members.
4. What AMMA can do to make women feel more included and safe.
As members who do not reside/ are not present in Kerala we are requesting the meeting to take place on either 13th or 14th of July 2018.
As members of AMMA we genuinely believe that at this critical point we will come together to serve the best interests of all our members.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Revathy Asha Kelunni, Padmapriya Janakiraman, Parvathy.
Life Members of AMMA.
28th June 2018