Friday, October 03, 2014 - 15:00

The News Minute | September 19, 2014 | 11.48 am IST

A petition is being circulated online, asking the Hyderabad police to divulge the names of the “rich clients” who were with actor Shwetha Basu Prasad who was sent to a rehabilitation home after she was detained in connection with prostitution charges.

In the first week of September, the actor’s name made headlines when she was booked by the Hyderabad police for prostitution. Most of the media revealed her identity when reporting on the case, but referred to her clients, who were also arrested, as “high profile businessmen”, “well-known businessmen”.

Read: Prostitution charges on actor become headlines but privacy of "high flying businessmen" intact

Signatories to the petition circulating online include various people from the media, academia, film industry, literature, and activists. The petition has over 200 signatories so far, but not all the names are visible.

They write: “The Hyderabad police has played an utterly partisan and anti-women role in revealing only the woman’s name in the prostitution racket that the police has claimed to have cracked on 2 September 2014”

They said they were of the “firm belief” that the police were “hand-in-glove with the rich man and have deliberately allowed him to get away and therefore are not revealing his name and identity. Why should we not call this rich client a male sex patron/prostitute? It is our suspicion that they made a so-called broker, one Mr. Balu, a scapegoat on his behalf.”

Questioning the role of the media, they said that in the present case, there appeared to have been no attempt to make independent queries on the version given by the police. They said: “When sections of the media take pride in investigative reporting, why are they silent in this case? How is it that the police version alone got reported without any independent enquiry?”

Signatories also wanted to know whether the procedure laid down in the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act had been followed.
Read the full text of the petition.

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