Following the brutal rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua, the country has witnessed massive outrage. In Kerala too, the resentment is strong with the Chief Minister taking to social media to share his grief and condemn the BJP. In two constituencies in Kerala, posters appeared on the gates of houses which read "BJP cadres please don’t come here asking for votes. We have girl children below the age of 10.”
From the film fraternity, too, many powerful voices have shared their grief over the incident. Actor Prithviraj Sukumaran in a post said that it was a shame on India and that we (the country) might be getting used to this sense of shame.
“What am I supposed to post?That it was wrong to hold an 8 year old child captive in a place of worship, gang rape her repeatedly over days, strangulate her, and then just to make sure that it’s all done, hit her over her head repeatedly with a stone to leave her dead in the forest? Or that it’s wrong to even contemplate justification for what was done? Or that it’s wrong to think that there is a reason for this to happen and thus, those who did it needn’t be brought to law? Or that it’s wrong to communalise it, and paint the rape and death of a child of our country with its myriad colours of religion? Or that it’s wrong to perceive it as a political opportunity and make her the face of electoral box office? THAT IT’S WRONG? Really? Need that even be said? I have nothing to say. NOTHING! Like Asifa’s father used to, I too wake up beside a girl child every morning. And as a father, I’m scared. As a husband, I know her mother is too. But most of all..as an Indian..like all of you..I’m ashamed. And you know what’s even scarier?I think we might be beginning to get used to this sense of shame. Shame on us..INDIA!” the actor stated in his post.
Actor Jayasurya posted a picture of him and his young daughter holding a board that said “Hang Them” with a hashtag asking for justice for the victim.
Actors Nivin Pauly and Dulquer Salman, too, took to Facebook to express their outrage about the incident. While Dulquer in a post said that it was just the most heartbreaking incident ever, Nivin Pauly shared a picture of the 8-year-old with a caption that read, “Extremely saddened to know that humans are capable of going to any extent of torture.I was tearing up thinking about the pain endured by 8 year old ***** and her family. Are we heading towards a morally bankrupt society?It's time that we all stand as one unified soul and do our bit. if her innocence doesn't tremble our souls, Nothing will! My heart goes out to ***** family in this hour of grief.”
Actor Parvathy, who won a special mention at the National Awards for her movie Take Off, posted a picture of her holding a placard which said, “I am Hindustan. I am ashamed. 8 years old. Gang raped. Murdered in“Devi-stan temple. #Kathua.”
It is certainly laudable to see celebrities extend their support to a rape victim. However, one must not forget that the Malayalam film industry has been choosy in expressing such outrage against rape accused.
While stars like Prithviraj, Parvathy and other members of the Women in Cinema Collective have stood by the survivor in the Malayalam actor abduction and assault case, several others either went into silence or openly expressed support for rape accused, Dileep, a prominent member of the Malayalam film industry. They also indulged in victim blaming, issued character certificates for Dileep, spun conspiracy theories without any factual basis, and gave the accused a hero's welcome when he obtained bail from the court.
More recently, when actor Parvathy was viciously attacked on social media for expressing her views on the Mammootty film Kasaba, not only did the stars not speak up against the rape threats that she received, many even actively encouraged the abuse.