Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes President Mohanlal on Saturday defended the organisation’s decision to reinstate rape accused actor Dileep. The body’s move last week led to criticism from several academics and artistes. Three actors, members of the Women in Cinema Collective, and the complainant, also resigned from the organisation in protest.

Dileep was removed from the guild in July 2017 after his arrest in connection with the abduction and sexual assault of a Malayalam actress. Mohanlal expressed solidarity with the Malayalam actress who had made the allegations and said that the “guild is with her”.

“I am writing this note with immense pain, that AMMA has been at the receiving end of unfair criticism through the media,” Mohanlal said on Facebook. “It was a unanimous sentiment that was raised in the general body meeting of AMMA held on June 26, 2018, that action against Dileep be frozen.”

Despite the resignations of the four members of the women’s collective, Mohanlal claimed that the decision to reinstate Dileep did not face any opposition. “The AMMA leadership has only gone by the basic democratic decency to stand with the unanimous opinion of the general body,” he said. The actor also blamed the media for using Dileep’s removal from the association as a “weapon” against it.

Mohanlal admitted that not all of the association’s members were present at the meeting. “Some people who had not attended the yearly meeting on June 26 later raised their voice of opposition and declared that they are leaving the association,” his statement said. “The new leadership is ready to re-examine the emotion behind this decision.”

The organisation’s president added: “We can change the disagreements into agreements. Let those who throw dirt from the outside, continue doing that. We can ignore those who are acting to destroy this association. It is in our own interest that we, the members of the association, should stand together.” Mohanlal said that it was unfair to tag the association as a “mafia organisation” as it was doing a lot of good work for Malayalam artistes.

“We have built houses for financially weak artists and are providing them with pension,” the actor added.