On Saturday evening, braving rain, scores of people gathered at Manaveeyam Veedhi in Kerala’s capital city of Thiruvananthapuram, to speak in solidarity with the female actor, who was kidnapped and sexually assaulted.
The solidarity meeting began with a signature campaign, that was inaugurated by former Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan.
The campaign with the hashtag, avalkoppam (with her) was organised jointly by the Network for Women in Media, India (NWMI), Women in Cinema Collective and a pro-women organisation Sthree Kootayma.
VS Achuthanandan began by saying, “I am also with her, and I too have something to say. Showing dignity towards women shouldn't be confined to text books. To protect this, each and every person from society should come forward."
Achuthanandan is the chairman of the State Administrative Reforms Commission.
"The actor, who was assaulted has not got justice. Not only that, she has been subjected to mental harassment. This is a serious issue, as those from the art field, who have to keep the society moving in the right direction, led the crime," he said.
People belonging to various walks of life took part in the campaign. "The meeting sent out a strong message that the people were in support of the actor. The rest is up to the home department," said VM Sudheeran, senior Congress leader and former president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee.
Those who spoke, flayed the public statements of some of the legislators like PC George, M Mukesh and KB Ganesh Kumar (Mukesh and Ganesh are actors as well), in favour of actor Dileep who was arrested and has been jailed in the case.
"There is a clamour to support the accused. He is an accused in a crime which is so heinous. There are arguments that people who had got favours from him should support him. It is as weird as asking for support to robbers, because they shared the money they looted from others," said senior CPI leader Pannian Raveendran.
Former MP CS Sujatha, Congress leader Shaniml Usman, IB Sastheesh MLA, poet Sugatha Kumari, academic and public activist J Devika, director and WCC representative Vidhu Vincent and Geetha Nazeer and KA Beena of NWMI also spoke at the event.
WCC members had come out with ‘avalkoppam’ campaign at the state film award presenting ceremony at Thalassery last week, in which most of the celebrities of Malayalam cinema didn’t take part.
The crime occurred on in February in a moving car.
During the Onam period, in the first week of September, many of Dileep’s colleagues had visited him at the Aluva sub-jail. Lately, former MP and editor of Southlive, Sebastian Paul wrote an article saying that questions should be raised for Dileep as well, which was a shock to many, including his colleagues.
The attempts to support the accused have in turn prompted the WCC to come out in support of the female actor and the campaign for her has now been taken up by others.