“I have written a letter to the Police Commissioner on Saturday and have asked him to submit a report within 15 days time,” chairperson of the commission, Nagalakshmi told TNM.

Ktaka Womens Commission takes suo motu cognisance of Sruthi Hariharans allegations
news Crime Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 17:12

The Karnataka State Commission for Women has taken suo motu cognisance of the complaints made by actor Sruthi Hariharan against actor Arjun Sarja with regards to sexual harassment in a recent social media post. Nagalakshmi Bai, Chairperson of the Commission, has approached Bengaluru City Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar and asked him to file a thorough report on the allegations.

“I have written a letter to the Police Commissioner on Saturday and have asked him to submit a report within 15 days time,” Nagalakshmi told TNM. This comes after Sruthi filed a complaint with the Cubbon Park police, and an FIR was registered under sections 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty, 354A (Sexual Harassment), and 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman).

Sruthi has alleged sexual harassment by Arjun Sarja in November 2015 while rehearsing for scenes in the film Vismaya, in a social media post. "I reached the set around 7.30 am and continued up to 6 pm. On the day, as per the script, we needed to hug after a particular dialogue, After the scene was over, there was rehearsal as desired by the director. During rehearsal, Arjun Sarja began cuddling, touching my hips, moving up to my bra, bringing the movement of the hand down to my hip and further down to my thigh. I took exception that he behaved inappropriately and out of context. I silently suffered and was unable to express it since I am an upcoming artist. Apart from that, he was a senior established artist having clout in the film industry," she stated in her complaint to the police.

Read: 'This is the wake-up call': Actor Sruthi Hariharan on Arjun Sarja and ‘Me Too’

"Before I could react, he again pulled me very close and moved his hand behind my back, asking the director "whether we can improvise like this in the scene". I immediately went to the director and told him I cannot work like this as all his gestures/acts are intended to insult my modesty and all his advances, physical contact is nothing but explicit sexual overtures. Unable to be consoled, I rushed to the caravan and started weeping," she added.

The issue had turned into a major slugfest after former Congress MLA and veteran actor Ambareesh chaired a meeting at the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce to “broker peace” between Arjun and Sruthi, but in vain. Following this, Sruthi not only stated that she will fight the case legally but also alleged that she was being threatened by Arjun’s aides.

Meanwhile, not only did Arun’s cousin Dhruv Sarja file a defamation case against Sruthi, his media manager Prashanth Sampargi gave the issue a political and communal angle. “The Me Too movement in India is an anti-Hindu campaign designed to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a run up to the 2019 election,” Prashanth said on October 26.

Read: Sruthi Hariharan files police complaint on Prashanth Sambargi, Arjun's media manager

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