Lawyer Harish Vasudevan said that "the legal system in the country rests solely based on the power of the witness to tell the truth”.

A collage with two rows, Malayalam actors Parvathy, Rima Kallingal, author NS Madhavan and KR Meera on top row, Remya Nambeessan, Revathy and Anjali menon on second row.
Flix Sunday, September 20, 2020 - 13:19

Many prominent personalities in Kerala have taken to social media to stand in solidarity with the survivor in the actor assault case after two more actors in the Malayalam film industry changed their statements in court. One of the hostile witnesses is actor Bhaama, who was a close friend of the survivor, and had earlier told the police that there was an argument between the survivor and actor Dileep during an event, which was proof of his hostility towards her. Actors Revathy, Rima Kallingal and Remya Nambeessan were the first to react after four witnesses from the film industry changed their statements. Many have been using the hashtag #Avalkoppam or 'with her' to express solidarity.

Speaking out against the incident, writer-journalist KR Meera said that the “survivor has already won the case, regardless of what happens in court or whichever witnesses turn hostile”. The writer also added that the message given by the survivor to the world by filing a complaint in the case is very important.

“This is the biggest feminist victory seen in recent times. The retaliation given to assaulters in such cases is also not a trivial one. The defence parties are those who have money power, political clout and people to support them. It is not surprising that witnesses are turning hostile due to this,” she added.

KR Meera also lauded the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) for standing in solidarity with the survivor despite several setbacks.

“Despite having been founded with just 18 members, the WCC outlived all setbacks and supported her (the survivor) and that is important. Nobody can ignore or belittle that. Even if one person is standing in support of the survivor, who outlived all losses and did not expect any gains —   then that is a victory,” she said. The writer also added that “...finally the winner is the survivor and that the scales are tipped in her favour,” before extending her support.

Filmmaker Aashiq Abu too took to Facebook to express his solidarity with the survivor, adding that it wasn’t surprising to see a senior actor and the female actor turning hostile in the case.

“By taking a favourable stand towards the cruelty that happened, these people are also morally favouring or leaning towards the crimes. Even after this, supporters of the accused who are hidden right now will go crawling back. They think that the legal system and the public can always be fooled. But whatever be the verdict of this case, I will stand with the survivor until the doors of the highest courts are closed. #Ionlystandwithher,” he wrote.

Writer NS Madhavan posted a picture of Judas and wrote “any resemblance of this picture to actor Bhaama is purely coincidental,” comparing the actor who was supposedly the survivor’s close friend to Judas, one of Jesus’s twelve disciples who betrayed him. Within the picture of Judas are the lines “From absolute loyalty to ultimate betrayal.”

Reason behind the anger and disappoinment

On Thursday, Malayalam actors Siddique and Bhaama had deposed before the special court in Kochi, in the case pertaining to the 2017 abduction and sexual assault of a Malayalam actor in a moving vehicle.

Malayalam actor Dileep has been accused of masterminding the attack and is the eighth accused in the case.

It is learnt that Bhamaa and Sidhique did not stick to their initial statements given to the police. While the duo had earlier spoken about a fight that broke out between actor Dileep and the survivor during a practice rehearsal for an AMMA (Association of Malayalam Movie Artists) show prior to the crime, they did not mention this point in court, according to sources.

Earlier two other actors, Edavela Babu and Bindhu Panicker, had turned hostile in the case.

Meanwhile, lawyer and environment activist Harish Vasudevan took to Facebook to remind people that "the legal system in the country rests solely based on the power of the witness to tell the truth”.

“Only if the witness is willing to honestly divulge what he or she knows about a crime in the court, even if cross examined multiple times, will the culprit finally be punished,” he said.

His post then goes on to ask what the power of truth is.

“The judicial system of this country is built on the single belief that the power to speak the truth that is seen, heard and known is used and that the witness has the courage to use this power. If the witness doesn't tell the truth or lies, the criminal will come out. If you're the witness, and saved the accused by changing the statement, tomorrow you might be the victim of that criminal who is coming out. No one will be there to testify. Only then will you understand the pain,” the post reads.


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