New Delhi: Following the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA)’s decision to revoke the expulsion of actor Dileep, several women feminists, academics, writers, artists, lawyers and activists have come to together to “express their severe discontent” over the actor’s reinstatement.
Dileep is one of the accused implicated in the kidnapping and sexual assault of a popular Malayalam actor in February 2017. The survivor in the case has since quit the AMMA.
Describing themselves as keen followers of Malayalam cinema, the signatories have condemned the AMMA’s misogyny in supporting the alleged perpetrator of sexual violence against a colleague. They have extended their support and solidarity to the members of Women in Cinema Collective and the stance taken by the members who have resigned protesting Dileep’s reinstatement.
The full statement is reproduced below.
With utmost shock and concern we watch the recent development in Malayalam film industry that led to the resignation of four actors from the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) This decision to take actor Dileep back into its fold shows the utter disregard AMMA as an association holds towards the survivor of a sexual assault. Dileep, the seventh accused and the alleged primary conspirator of the incident that involves the abduction and molestation of an actor, is also accused of influencing producers from casting the survivor. In such a crisis, instead of supporting the survivor, the association expressed its misogyny through a travesty, performed in its fund-raising fete, with Mammootty and Mohanlal- the superstars as its highlights, ridiculing the Women’s Collective that was formed to address women’s issues in the industry. This, is not conducive to a civilised society and cannot be the accepted culture of an industry that has a formative role in determining of the consciousness of a society.
Malayalam film industry has its compelling claim to treating cinema as a responsible medium, at par with many important film cultures of the world. Given the context, this behavior is unexpected and unacceptable from a trade union that claims to represent the majority of its actors. It is outrageous that AMMA firmly chooses to be on the wrong side of the movement against sexual harassment within the film industries worldwide in the wake of the #MeToo campaign and Harvey Weinstein follow ups in the Hollywood.
What adds to our worries is that the body is headed by people’s representatives who associate with the ruling political party in Kerala. We request CPIM to seriously consider discussing with these elected representatives the implications of their act. It is also sad to point out that AMMA did not consider the potential of exploring the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, a legislative act in India that seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work in this specific case or during any instances of harassment charges reported by women within its collective.
We extend our whole-hearted support to the members of the Women’s Collective who have resigned from the Association, pledging support to the survivor and also trying to take pro-active roles in engaging with women’s question in the industry. We appreciate the statement issued by AIDWA state committee in this regard and hope CPI(M) and other organisations look into this seriously and communicate to AMMA the preposterousness of this absurd action. We also request the Government of Kerala to take immediate action to protect the survivor and to be cautious about chances of tampering with evidence in the on-going case involving Dileep.
Uma Chakravarti Feminist Historian, Documentary Film Maker
Deepa Dhanraj, Documentary Film maker
Susie Tharu, Former Professor of English and Cultural Studies, The English and Foreign Languages University.
Flavia Agnes, Women’s Rights Lawyer,
Tejaswini Niranjana, Trustee, Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore
Arunima, Professor Centre for Women’s Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University
A.K. Ramakrishnan, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Mary E John, Senior Fellow, Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi
Janaki Nair, Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Anandhi, Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies
Deeptha Achar, Professor, Faculty of Arts, M S University, Baroda
Rashmimala, Visual Artist,Vadodara
Nilima Sheikh, Artist, Baroda
Nalini Malani, Artist, Mumbai
Deepak Mathew, Professor and Head, Department of Design, IIT Hyderabad
Lalitha, Writer, Anveshi Research Centre Hyderabad
Dr. Veena Shatrugna, Medical Scientist, Hyderabad
Dr. Janaky Abraham, Delhi University
Dr. Suneetha, Co-ordinator Anveshi Research Centre Hyderabad
Satish Poduval, Professor, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad
T.T. Sreekumar, Professor, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad
Kaneez Fathima, Civil Rights Activist Hyderabad
K Anuradha, Aman Vedika , Hyderabad
Ranjit T, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad.
Khalida Parveen, Activist Amoomat Society Hyderabad
Sarah Mathews, Sankalp, Women’s Support Alliance, Hyderabad
Madhumeeta Sinha, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad
V J Varghese, University of Hyderabad.
Asma Rasheed, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad
Ratheesh Kumar, Assistant Professor, JNU, New Delhi
Satyavati K., Bhumika Women’s Collective, Hyderabad
Rachana Mudraboyina, Telangana Hijra Intersex Samiti
Sajaya,Caring Citizen’s Collective, Hyderabad
Nikhat Fathima, Activist, Chennai
Uma Bhrugubanda , The English and Foreign Languages University
Vasudha Nagaraj, Advocate, Hyderabad
Tejaswini Madhubhushi , Hyderabad for Feminism
Gitanjali Joshua, Hyderabad for Feminism
Seetha Lakshmi, Independent Researcher and Consultant Hyderabad
Shalini Mahadev, Hyderabad for Feminism
Sujatha Sureppally, Professor, Satavahana University
Rama Melkote, Former Professor of Political Science, Osmania University, Hyderabad
Dr.Arathi. PM, Assistant Professor, Council for Social Development, New Delhi
Sherin B.S. English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad
Deepti Sreeram, Research Associate, MAHE, Manipal
Ria De, Research Scholar in Film Studies, EFLU Hyderabad
Praveena Thali, Research Scholar in Women’s Studies, University of Hyderabad
Ummul Fayiza, PhD Candidate, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Devi, Cultural Activist Hyderabad
Ashalatha, Women’s Rights Activist, Hyderabad
Vimala Morthala Writer, Activist, Hyderabad
V Sandhya National Convener POW
Girija B Independent Researcher
Ms. Sunitha, Ankuram Women and Child Development Society Hyderabad
Ms. Sumithra, Ankuram Women and Child Development Society
Shraddha Chickerur, Hyderabad for Feminism
Sreerag P. Research Scholar& Student Union President, University of Hyderabad,
Chaitanya Pingali, Writer, Lyricist, Hyderabad
Shefali Jain, Assistant Professor, Ambedkar University, New Delhi
Abha Bhaiya, Sangat South Asian Feminist Network, NewDelhi
Gautami Challagulla- Screenwriter, Independent Film maker, Hyderbad
Pamela Philippose Journalist and Researcher, New Delhi
Manjusha Madhu, PhD scholar, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Gayatri Nair, Tata Institue of Social Sciences, Hyderabad
Thulasi, Journalist, Hyderabad
Brinelle D’souza, Asst. Professor, Tata Institue of Social Sciences
Padma Velaskar Prof (retd) ,Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Bindu Menon, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi
Professor SAMITA SEN, Dean, Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies, Jadavpur University
Nisha Biswas, scientist and activist
Julia George Streevani
Kamayani Bali Mahabal Feminist and Human Rights Activist
Geeta Seshu, Journalist, Mumbai
Lekha Narayanan, Artist, Hyderabad
Sharmila Samant Artist, Associate Prof, SNU, Dept of Arts,
Bittu Karthik, University of Hyderabad
Dipti Tamang, Darjeeling Government College
Jhuma Sen, O.P. Jindal Global University
Sadhna Arya, Satyawati College, University of Delhi.
S.Seetha Lakshmi Independent Researcher and Consultant Hyderabad