At a time when the Kerala police are busy collecting evidence against producer-actor Vijay Babu in a rape case, the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), a pro-women outfit in the Malayalam film industry, on Friday came down heavily on other film bodies maintaining silence on the issue and urged the state government to take care of the survivor’s safety.
Urging the industry associations to break their silence on the matter, the outfit wanted them to suspend the membership of the accused in all film bodies until there is a verdict.
Unless they take action against him for his ”brazenly illegal act of victim shaming in public”, their stand as industry organizations is ”problematic”, the WCC alleged in a Facebook post.
The outfit said Babu, during a recent Facebook live session, deliberately named the young woman actor, who had lodged a police complaint of rape and physical assault against him, several times, making sure she would be the target of ”vicious social media mobs”.
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”Vijay Babu taking the survivor’s name illegally has opened doors for a mass social media attack and shaming of the survivor. We request the Cyber Cell and the Women’s Commission to act upon this urgently…We urge the government to take responsibility for her safety,” the outfit said.
The accused, in the FB live session, twirled his mustache like a ”B-grade film villain” and publicly named the young woman actor who had filed the case, it said. Stating that it was ”appalled” at the industry’s silence, the WCC said it was happening despite the recent judgment of the Kerala High Court directing them to implement the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2013 in the Malayalam film industry, in a letter and spirit. Meanwhile, Kochi police Commissioner Nagaraju Chakilam said the accused was yet to return to the state but has no way but to come back before the law. ”We are expecting that he might come and surrender before the law soon…that’s what we are anticipating…otherwise, he is an established person…He has to come back…we have already collected his travel and passport details,” he told reporters here.
He also said searches were continuing to collect evidence and the examination of the witnesses and their identification were pending. Vijay Babu has been charged for allegedly sexually assaulting a female actor and disclosing the survivor’s identity through a Facebook live session.
The police already made it clear that ”prima facie that is a proved case” and a lookout notice had been issued against the accused who has reportedly left the country soon after registering the rape case against the actor on April 22 on the basis of the female actor’s complaint.
Babu, who is untraceable since the police launched the probe, appeared in a Facebook live session on Tuesday night and claimed innocence, saying he is the ”real victim.” As the producer, who is also the founder of the production company Friday Film House, disclosed the survivor’s name and identity, which is an offense, another case was also filed against him.
The woman, who appeared in movies produced by Vijay Babu’s production house, filed a complaint with the police on April 22 and detailed through a Facebook post the physical assault and sexual exploitation she had allegedly suffered at the hands of the producer-actor in the past one-and-a-half months.