In an incident that has sent shock waves across Kerala, a top Malayalam actor was abducted by a gang of men and driven around Kochi city for hours.
The actor was reportedly traveling in a Mahindra SUV from Thrissur to Kochi when the driver, Martin, a Koratti native, abducted her.
The actor filed a complaint in this regard, and an FIR was lodged by the police under various sections. According to sources, the case has been filed under various sections of the IPC including 376 (rape), 366 (kidnapping a woman), 506 (criminal intimidation) and other relevant sections of the IT act. The men also allegedly took pictures and videos of the incident.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has strongly condemned the abduction and assault. The CM said that the police have been directed to conduct a thorough enquiry into the matter and bring the accused to book at the earliest.
â€śThe fact that one of the accused is already in custody will go a long way in speeding up the investigation. It has also been found that the registration number of the vehicle used for the misdeed is a fake one. The number actually belongs to a two-wheeler,â€ť Pinarayi told reporters in Delhi.
Several other prominent personalities too have condemned the shameful incident.
While state Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala chose to view it as part of the deteriorating law and order situation in the state under the LDFâ€™s government misrule, Kerala Congress Committee (KPCC) president VM Sudheeran rued that Kerala seemed to be turning into a haven for goons, quotation gangs and the mafia.
â€śEarlier, commoners found themselves easy target for criminals, now even celebrities too find themselves unsafe here,â€ť Sudheeran told the media. Commenting on the incident, Sudheeran said that womenâ€™s safety in Kerala is now an illusion, and that anything can happen to anyone here.
State BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan too termed the incident as growing evidence of the lawlessness unleashed in Kerala, after the Left assumed power in the state.
â€śCrime against women and Scheduled castes are on the rise. The Chief Minister along with the state Home Department can be seen deliberately encouraging an atmosphere of violence in the state,â€ť opined Kummanam, while speaking to the media.
Popular dubbing artiste and television anchor Bhagyalaksmi termed it a matter of shock and shame, reiterating that the said incident just served to highlight the fact that â€śour girls are no more safeâ€ť in todayâ€™s society.
â€śIt is not a matter of being a celebrity. It is a matter of being a woman,â€ť she felt.
Lok Sabha MP and president of Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) Innocent said that he had spoken in person to the state Police Chief Loknath Behera who had assured him that all the accused in the crime would be arrested and brought to justice.
She was travelling in a film production unit. Her previous driver, a person named 'Pulsar' Suni from Perumbavoor, was an accused in a murder case and the actor had asked that he be replaced.
Suni was reportedly unhappy with the actor over the loss of his job and was also part of the plan. On Friday night, Suni and a gang of men attacked the actor's vehicle in a van near Angamaly. Her new driver, Martin was part of the plan.
Following the staged accident, the men abducted the actor and took her in their van. They roamed around Kochi city for about 2.5 hours and allegedly assaulted her.