Kerala men's 'march' for Dileep has few takers, cops disband it anyway

Santhavila Dinesan, a director who was arrested for making derogatory remarks against artiste Bhagyalekshmi, was supposed to make the inaugural speech.
Santhivila Dinesan at the protest
Santhivila Dinesan at the protest
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By noon on Tuesday, January 18, a small number of men turned up on the streets of Thiruvananthapuram, to hold a protest in support of Dileep, the Malayalam actor alleged to have masterminded a sexual assault crime against his fellow actor in 2017. The protest was taken out by an organisation that calls itself All Kerala Men's Association (AKMA), but it was put to an end even before the inaugural speech was made. The police disbanded the protest happening at a time when Thiruvananthapuram has a worrisome load of COVID-19 cases, with nearly one in every two people testing positive for the coronavirus.

Santhivila Dineshan, a director who often appears in television channel discussions in support of the accused actor, was supposed to make the inaugural speech when the protest reached the Secretariat. The director was arrested last year for making derogatory remarks about actor, dubbing artiste and activist Bhagyalekshmi on social media. However, by the time he turned up for his speech at the Secretariat, the march was cancelled.

Ajith Kumar C, the organiser of the protest in a live on the page of AKMA, said that they would conduct the protest another day. He claimed that "many had come for the protest" and police asked some of them to leave. However, in the live video, very few people were seen at the protest site.

The protest was announced at a time Dileep's anticipatory bail plea is to be heard in another case, where he is the main accused in a conspiracy to murder police officials. The First Information Report was filed after audio recordings allegedly containing voices of Dileep and his relatives came out, plotting to murder Baiju Paulose and other police officials who investigated the sexual assault case of the woman actor.

The woman actor was sexually assaulted by a gang of men in a car in Kochi in February 2017. The assault was also recorded on video. Dileep was arrested in the case a few months after the assault and he spent nearly three months in prison. He continues to be an accused in the case, whose trial is not over yet. The case came into renewed focus in recent weeks after director Balachandrakumar, a former friend of Dileep, released incriminating audio clips concerning the actor’s role in the assault. 

Watch: Why the new allegations in Dileep case are important

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