Facing protests, actor Dileep to keep off film bodies

By PTI Published on Jun 29, 2018 03:45 PM IST

Kochi / Thiruvananthapuram: Amid the raging row over the decision of industry body AMMA to take him back, actor Dileep, facing a sexual assault case, has said he would not be an active worker of any organisation till his innocence was proved.

Dileep's stand came in a letter hours after Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) demanded an emergency executive meeting of Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) to discuss the issue and several State ministers attacked him and the film body.

After the incident that took place February last year, Dileep had been removed from the association's primary membership. But in a sudden move, AMMA reinstated his membership on 24 June, triggering widespread protests.

The actor was arrested on charges of conspiracy in the case related to the abduction and sexual assault of a south Indian actress in February 2017 and released on bail.

In his letter to AMMA general secretary Edavela Babu, Dileep said he was saddened by the humiliation the association was being subjected to in his name.

He claimed he was trapped in the case in which he had no role. "I do not wish to continue as an active worker of any organisation till my innocence is proved before the film folks and people of the State," Dileep said.

The actor also wished all success to new office-bearers of AMMA. He expressed gratitude to AMMA for taking a decision in his favour at its previous general body meeting.

The actress, who was assaulted, had resigned Wednesday from AMMA with three others too putting in their papers to express solidarity with her.

In a letter Wednesday, prominent actors - Revathy, Parvathy and Padmapriya - who are members of WCC, demanded that AMMA convene a meeting immediately to examine the desirability of Dileep's reinstatement.

"We are writing this letter to express our concern as women members of AMMA on the recent decision to bring back the expelled member (Dileep) in the general body meeting held on June 24," they said.

"Considering the gravity of the circumstances and the matter being sub judice, it is shocking that such an important matter was decided without listing it on the agenda or being discussed among all members prior to the meeting," they said in the letter posted on the WCC Facebook page.

They said AMMA had publicly pledged full support to the member who survived the assault but the decision to reinstate the expelled member goes against the association's promise.

State ministers G Sudhakaran and J Mercykutty Amma and Kerala Women's Commission Chairperson M C Josephine also came out in support of the stand taken by the actresses who resigned from AMMA.

They also took exception to the supportive stand taken by the two LDF MLAs - K B Ganesh Kumar and Mukesh - and MP Innocent, all members of the association, on the matter.

In a scathing attack on AMMA, Josephine said the film body's "decision" to take back Dileep was "not right."

Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said AMMA's decision showed the "misogynistic attitude" of the Malayalam film industry in its worst form.

Fisheries Minister Mercykutty said those who have done wrong should be punished, however high they may be, and the government was always with the victim.

Lashing out at Dileep, PWD Minister G Sudhakaran said he was "arrogance personified" and alleged a lobby was controlling the Malayalam film industry.

Senior Congress leader V M Sudheeran said AMMA's decision was akin to questioning the legal system. "This is a very wrong decision and should be rectified as soon as possible by the office-bearers."

The actress, who was sexually assaulted in a moving car last year, had resigned from AMMA yesterday alleging that the organisation had not stood by her during the crisis.

The actress, who has worked in Tamil and Telugu films, was allegedly abducted and molested in her car for two hours by the accused who had forced their way into the vehicle on the night of 17 February 2017 and later escaped in a busy area.