A few days after the release of filmmaker Divya Bharathi’s upcoming documentary, Orutharum Varela’s trailer, she has alleged that she is receiving threats and unwarranted visits from police officials at her residence and her workplace in Madurai.
This isn't the first time the filmmaker, lawyer and activist Divya Bharathi has come under police radar. Speaking to TNM over the phone, her husband Gopal said that over 15 officials entered her house in Madurai on Monday evening, demanding her father to know about Divya Bharathi’s whereabouts.
On Tuesday, the group stopped her vehicle outside Madurai District Court, insisting that she come with them. “We kept asking who they were and if they had summons, which they didn't. They even took our keys. When we asked for the officer to show us his id card, we found that he’s from Salem. When Madurai police officers have not approached, what is the need for an official from Salem to investigate?” asks Gopal. Divya is currently with friends inside Madurai bar council under the supervision of bar council secretary.
It is unclear why the police want to question Divya Bharathi, but over the past few days, activists who have questioned the government's plan to build an expressway from Salem to Chennai and the expansion of the Salem airport have been arrested.
Divya Bharathi wrote on her Facebook page on June 3 afternoon that she was being intimidated.
"Today in the morning when I was not at home, more than 15 police and intelligence agents rounded up my house as if they were holding a huge culprit. Four of them jumped the compound wall and entered from the backside, four entered from my neighbour's house and five through the front door and checked the entire house. All 13 Lady Police officers were not in their uniforms. No details were given to advocate Rajendran who came to my house upon hearing the news. Saying they wanted to inquire regarding my documentary, they scrounged every corner in the house," she wrote.
Adhavan Deetchanya, General Secretary, Tamil Nadu Murpokku Ezhuthalar Kalaingargal Sangam said that the actions could indicate government’s paranoia. “Divya Bharathi has been vocal on the happenings in Thoothukudi and her documentary is about Ockhi, another controversial event. The officials from Salem could indicate that perhaps the Government is jumping the gun and being cautious.” He also added that Divya Bharathi is awaiting her anticipatory bail and that her whereabouts are currently being safeguarded.
Her documentary Kakkoos, that released last year, ruffled feathers in the state for exposing the ugly truth of the inhuman practise. On July 21, Divya Bharathi had uploaded a video in which two sanitary workers made serious allegations against the Dean of Anna University, Chitra Selvi.
From the time the video went online, she has faced death threats, abusive calls and sexual harassment over the phone. In August last year, Divya had to flee Tamil Nadu fearing her safety following threatening phone calls.
It was announced earlier this year that Orutharum Varela, a documentary on the devastating effects of Cyclone Ockhi that wreaked serious havoc on coastal India in December last year, would be out soon. After much delay, the trailer of her latest documentary titled Orutharum Varela (Nobody came) was released on YouTube on June 28.
The documentary's trailer begins with an oppari (lament) and asks several razor sharp questions - "We’ve lost only one, but in Kanyakumari, Kerala there is no male heir living. What will we say about them?”, “It is unbelievable that a single person like Tamil Nadu Weatherman knew it as cyclone but not the government which posses the Met department”, “Did you search with navy or helicopters? We rescued them on our boats!”, “The second largest Indian Naval force but they could not go beyond 200 nautical miles. What for *** do we have the Naval force?”