The Kerala government has formed another three-member panel to implement the recommendations in the Hema Commission report on the problems faced by women in the Malayalam film industry. The panel consists of Kerala Chalachithra Academy secretary Ajoy C, as well as an under-secretary each from the state Culture Department and the Law Department. Kerala Culture Minister Saji Cherian told Reporter TV that the panel has been formed to examine the prominent parts of the Hema Commission report, check the legal side and file a report on how the recommendations can be implemented.
The Hema Commission report was submitted to the state government more than two years ago, in December 2019, after recording the harrowing experiences of several women in the film industry who spoke about the instances of harassment they have faced at the workplace. The commission was entrusted with the job after the abduction and sexual assault of a prominent female actor, in Kochi in February 2017. The survivor as well as several other women in the film industry had to relive their trauma for a second time when they narrated incidents of harassment for the report. However, for more than three years, there has been no word on making it public or action to be taken.
When Reporter TV asked Minister Saji about the new panel and the government's delay in acting on the Hema Commission report, the minister said that the panel was formed after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan asked to create guidelines on implementing the Hema Commission recommendations. The government has not thought of presenting the report before the Assembly since it was a "huge volume with many pages," he said. Once the three-member panel submits their report on how to implement the recommendations, the government may hold further discussions with film organisations, he added.
When TNM recently spoke to retired Justice Hema, she said that the report was confidential and the women who spoke to them had trusted them to keep it so. She also said that the women who spoke to the committee are free to speak about it openly, if they wished to do so.
On several occasions, members of the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) expressed their disappointment at the governmentâ€™s inaction in implementing or making the report public.
In the past few weeks, several developments have taken place in the sexual assault case of the actor, in which actor Dileep is an accused. A filmmaker named Balachandrakumar released several audio clips concerning Dileep's role in the crime. The police began further probing in the case, which is now being handled by the Crime Branch. Some of the audio clips, allegedly threatening the lives of police officials investigating the case, led to a fresh FIR (First Information Report) naming Dileep as the main accused.
Watch: Why is Kerala govt keeping Hema Commission report a secret