Kerala is reeling under the shock of the news of a popular Malayalam actress who was abducted two days ago by a gang of six men, who allegedly molested her and had driven around the city of Kochi for hours. Photos and videos of the actress were reportedly taped with the intention of blackmailing her later, according to local TV news reports.
The news of her abduction officially broke after the actress gave her statement before the Kalamasseri Judicial First Class Magistrate in Ernakulam.
In a first of its kind initiative, the Malayalam film industry called a public meeting this evening to address the media regarding this incident. Prominent actors included Mammootty, Dileep, Lal, Manoj K Jayan and young actors like Kalidas Jayaram were also present. Directors included Kamal, Ranjith and others.
This is the first time that such a meeting has been convened by the top actors of the Malayalam film industry.
Actor-turned-politician Innacent addressed media persons, “This should never happen. Cops are doing everything to bring the criminals to book. The government is supporting the police in every way. It is Mammootty who called me and said that we must convene a meeting immediately on this. We are all with the actress.”
“She is Kerala’s pride and she is our sister. We stand with her in complete solidarity. We promise her that she will not be alone hereafter – an entire society is supporting her. The police, the government, the people are with you. That is all I want to convey to her. This ”agni” has to spread. Masculinity is not about using force on a woman but it lies in giving her a sense of protection and security in herself,” Mammootty said.
Popular actress Manju Warrier also addressed the gathering and said, “She is my closest friend and I went and I met her last evening. I feel proud that she has shown the courage to move forward under such difficult circumstances. My prayer is that such a thing should never happen to any woman. I want to also say that in the film industry, we have so many drivers and technicians who drop us safely to our homes. We cannot ignore their sincerity. Having said this, I want to emphasise that in this case there has been a case of criminal conspiracy. Those who are behind this and guilty should be punished and dealt with so that it does not happen to any woman in our society.”
Director Kamal addressed the gathering, “In Kerala, we think that these incidents will never happen here. So many of our women folk travel late hours – this incident is a matter of shame that such a thing happened. It is not merely criminals who are responsible – it includes all of us. We were all so arrogant that there are no criminals in our film industry – but what has happened now shows us differently. The need of the hour is to be alert and to stand by and offer complete support.”
“I felt deep anguish on hearing what has happened. In all these years I have not heard of an incident like this happening in our industry. The film industry must take measures to ensure that artists who work late hours are dropped safely and that such a thing should never happen again. I admire her courage,” KPAC Lalithaa addressed the gathering.
Other actors had already come out in support of the actress on social media. Prithviraj Sukumaran was the first to react very strongly about standing with the actress and extending support to her, followed by posts by Anoop Menon, Mohanlal and Suresh Gopi.
Meanwhile, a political slugfest has erupted over the issue with prominent leaders of different parties playing the blame game and raising allegations against the law and order situation in the state.