The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday issued notices to the Telangana government and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and sought a detailed report over the alleged sexual exploitation of women in Tollywood.
The Commission asked the state and the Centre to respond within four weeks with details of what mechanism exists in place to deal with sexual harassment of women actors.
The commission took suo moto cognizance of media reports after actor Sri Reddy stripped in public to protest against sexual exploitation in Tollywood at the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce in Film Nagar in Hyderabad, recently.
During the protest, Sri Reddy questioned why the MAA (Movie Artists’ Association) doesn’t have a women grievance redressal committee.
Responding to the serious allegations levelled by Sri Reddy, the Commission issued notices to the Chief Secretary of Telangana and the Secretary of Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The Commission also asked the state government to form a committee to address and redress the grievances of the female actors.
Through a press release on Thursday, the Commission said, “The Commission has observed that the contents of the media reports, if true, tantamount to inaction of the part of the State government. The Commission is of the opinion that the reported prohibitions imposed upon the actress, barring her to act in the films and stopping others to work with her are violation of her right to livelihood and live a life with dignity.”
On April 7, Sri Reddy protested at the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce, alleging sexual exploitation in the film industry and against the against the MAA for denying her membership despite acting in two films.
After her shocking protest, MAA brazenly said that they will not grant her membership and would also ask other members to boycott her films. ”...no artist who is a member of the MAA will act with her. If they do, they will be suspended,” MAA president Sivaji Raja earlier said.
This move by the MAA was slammed by a collective of women activists who likened MAA to a ‘khap Panchayat’ for its undemocratic decisions.