Four actresses resigned from the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes on Wednesday to protest the organisation’s decision to reinstate actor Dileep, who had been expelled in July 2017 over his alleged involvement in the abduction and sexual assault of an actress.
The assault survivor, along with Remya Nambeesan, Rima Kallingal and Geethu Mohandas announced their decision to step down from the guild for film industry members on the Facebook page of the Women in Cinema Collective. The collective was founded in 2017 as a response to the sexual assault on the actress, who was allegedly abducted by a group of men on February 17, 2017 near Angamaly, Enakulum, while returning from a shoot. Reports said that Dileep, who was arrested in July, had allegedly planned the attack on the actress because of a personal grudge. Dileep and another co-conspirator had then hired a group of men to carry out the crime, according to the police.
In her statement, the survivor said she felt there was “no point in continuing in this organisation”. A rough translation is as follows:
“I am resigning from AMMA. It is not just because its decision to reinstate the actor who is accused of assaulting me. It tried to rescue the accused despite the fact the victim is a member of the same organisation. I had complained against him when he denied me of chances, but AMMA didn’t take any action against him. Now I have realised that there is no point in continuing in this organisation.”
Nambeesan said she was “resigning from AMMA to protest of the highly irresponsible decision to reinstate a person who is accused of assault [on] my colleague”. She added, “AMMA took an inhumane decision. Let there be justice.”
Mohandas too declared her decision to resign, adding, “I should have taken this earlier as I knew that it was difficult to question its decisions while being part of the outfit. The association wants people who obey its leadership. No one heard our concerns. It is not acceptable.” She said she will fight against AMMA’s move “from the outside”.
Kallingal said, “I don’t think this issue is limited to just one person or organisation. I am leaving AMMA not because of this one issue [Dileep’s reinstatement]. It is also because I want to see a workplace where next generation women artistes can hold their heads high.”
AMMA decided to reinstate Dileep at a general body meeting in Kochi on Sunday, after actor Mohanlal took charge as president of the guild for film industry members. The Women and Cinema Collective had released a statement on Monday condemning the “anti-women” decision and raising six questions for the AMMA. Among other things, they asked the organisation, “Don’t you feel there is an anomaly in taking back a rape accused to the association even before the investigation is over?” and “Isn’t this decision to reinstate Dileep into the association of which the survivor is still a part of, insulting her?”.