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LDF government, CM redeem themselves with star's arrest
Malayalam cinema's ugly underbelly bared
By P. Sreekumaran
However high or influential he may be, anyone committing a crime against women would be arrested. That is the powerful message the arrest of prominent Malayalam actor Dileep in the case of abduction and rape of a noted actress beams.

The people of Kerala woke up to the shocking tale of the abduction and sexual assault on February 18. Four months after the sordid tale unspooled, actor Dileep has been arrested for the conspiracy leading to the incident. Revelations made by the first accused, Pulsar Suni, who executed the actor's 'orders' proved crucial in catching up with the hero-turned villain.

In the process, the Left Democratic Front Government and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan have redeemed themselves. The CM had said earlier that there was no conspiracy behind the abduction and rape and that it was the handiwork of the first accused, Pulsair Suni. With the arrest in the case, the Government has wiped off that stain and exhibited its tenacity of purpose and fierce will to nab the culprits in high-profile cases.

The climax, which came after months of suspense and twists in the tale, will go a long way to restore the faith of people in the delivery of natural justice. A few judgments in some recent cases had created doubted in the minds of the people about the efficacy of the system.

The unraveling of the case also provides an ideal opportunity to cleanse the Malayalam film industry, which is in the vicious grip of a powerful mafia. The nexus between the film personalities and the dreaded underworld, which has all along been suspected, has now been exposed. This is the time to initiate quick course correction.

Hopefully, the Association of Malayalam 'Male' Actors (AMMA), which shocked the people by equating the rape survivor with the actor under a cloud of suspicion, will make amends by taking strong action against him. In fact, it is a crying shame that AMMA failed to even pass a resolution expressing solidarity to and support for the actress in distress. All the waters in the Arabian Sea will not wash the stain on its hands. That is the prevailing public perception.

Shame-faced AMMA office-bearers are meeting to discuss the situation arising out of the arrest of Dileep. Indications are that the body may expel the actor.

That would be a welcome step. But more important is the need to loosen the stranglehold of patriarchal attitudes that have blighted the organization and end discrimination against and exploitation of women in the film industry. Expiation it will be for the AMMA office-bearers only if they ensure the creation of an ambience enabling the actresses to work without fear of harassment and sexual exploitation.

That women in the film industry are shedding their fear and asserting their right to equal opportunities, wages and proper working conditions is clear from the formation of a Women's Collective in Cinema (WCC). In fact, the organization has already moved the national as well as the state Women's Commission for action against the actors who made derogatory and insulting comments against their distraught colleague.

Both the police and the media also deserve kudos for the manner in which they discharged their duties. The much-maligned police have at last added a fine feather to their cap by nabbing a super star culprit.

Likewise, the media also can give a pat on its back for a job done well under pressure. But for the media's doggedness and tenacity, the case would have been cast into the dustbin of obscurity. No wonder, the huge crowds which gathered in front of Aluva Police Club where the arrested actor was brought, shouted slogans in praise of the police and the media.

It must also be said that Kerala, which has many firsts to its credit, has blazed a new trail by netting a big fish from the film industry. It is an example other states and film industries like Bollywood and Kollywood will do well to emulate. Hats off to the Government, the police and the media for a job well done.

—(IPA Service)

News Updated at : Thursday, July 13, 2017
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