Malayalam actor-director Lal has claimed that in the recent past, there have been at least three incidents resembling the sexual assault of a popular actress on Friday night. Lal said that Kerala Director-General of Police Loknath Behera had told him about these cases. “But no one has come to know about it...maybe, because it was suppressed using money or left unreported fearing humiliation,” he told film personalities who had gathered in Kochi to attend a protest meet organised against the incident on Sunday.

Lal assured the gathered audience that unlike the previous incidents, this case would not be suppressed, reported PTI. The actor-director said that though the actress had thought of withdrawing the complaint after “[the] remarks by some TV channels”, her family has now decided to go to any extent to get the guilty punished.

Apart from Lal, an array of film personalities had gathered under the banner of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists to express their solidarity with the complainant. Actor Manju Warrier said this was a case of criminal conspiracy. “I am proud of her as she is fighting back despite going through such ordeal. I pray to god that it doesn’t happen to any other girl,” she added.

Superstar Mammootty appreciated the woman’s courage and vowed to stand by her. “You have my word. We are with you. You are not alone. There is a big group of people that loves you and supports you in your fight,” he said, according to The Indian Express.

Actor Dileep and director Kamal also highlighted the bigger picture and called for better security for women in the state. “This is a big lesson for us the people of Kerala, who were living in a bubble thinking such things won’t happen here. This incident burst that bubble,” said Kamal.

The incident took place on Friday night when the actor was on her way from Thrissur to Kochi. A gang of men waylaid her car at Athani in Angamaly, they forced their way into the car, took over control and drove around for at least two hours. She told the police that her abductors sexually assaulted her and took photos of her with the intention of using them to blackmail her later. They stopped the car at Palarivattom and fled the scene.

Until now, the police have arrested three people in connection with the case. The main accused in the case, the actor’s former driver, was taken into custody after the incident while two more were arrested on Saturday. The police are looking for six other people.