Actor-politician Pawan Kalyan on Saturday while responding to Telugu actress Sri Reddy’s allegations of sexual exploitation in Tollywood said that she must approach the police with all the evidence she had.
When asked a question on the topic, Pawan Kalyan said, “There is no use going to TV channels. The women should go to police stations. More than this sensationalism, there is a need to fight all such injustice in court.”
“Instead of resorting to such protests, it’s better to approach the police and narrate their problems. Let them handle it. Because how much ever we speak to the media, it is the government’s duty to do justice,” he added.
Even as Pawan was speaking, a female reporter pointed out that though Telugu actor Chalapathi Rao was booked last year for making derogatory comments about women, no action had been taken against him.
“Women are not disturbance to peace. But are useful to sleep with,” Chalapathi Rao had said, following which a police complaint was immediately filed.
The reporters also pointed out that Sri Reddy was just asking for support from within the Telugu film industry, to which Pawan replied, “I will extend support, but I’m not a policeman and neither a judge. The law has to take its course before people decide to take law in their own hands.”
Responding to the Jana Sena Party chief’s comments, Sri Reddy later posted on Facebook, “I’m not happy with Pawan Kalyan sir’s statement, but it’s okay. He spoke about protecting other women but at the same time he kept me down. I can’t understand him. It’s fine. I’m not jealous and I am not trying to get public attention or popularity like anyone.”
Reddy created a sensation by resorting to a strip protest against ‘casting couch’ – a euphemism for sexual harassment – in Tollywood in front of the office of the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce in Hyderabad on April 7.
Following this, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sent notices to the Telangana government and the Information & Broadcasting Ministry. The commission took suo moto cognisance of media reports about the allegations raised by the actor and a lack of grievance redressal mechanism for women in the film industry.
Hours after the notices were issued, the Movie Artists’ Association (MAA) lifted a ban that it had placed on the actor. The association had earlier not only dismissed her allegations but also declared that she would not be given its membership under any circumstances. It also said that action would be taken against any artiste who shares screen space with her.
However, after the NHRC notices, MAA announced setting up of a Committee Against Sexual Harassment which would meet once in three months.
MAA President Shivaji Raja said the committee, comprising senior actors and filmmakers of Telugu film industry, would look into any complaints of sexual harassment.