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Malayalam journal effectively covers up actor, a prime accused in sexual crime: Petition

By Our Representative  
Anna MM Vetticad, film critic and journalist, and author of “The Adventures of an Intrepid Film Critic”, has circulated the text of an open letter to the women's magazine “Vanitha” – which is part of Kerala’s largest media group, Malayala Manorama group -- condemning the decision to put actor Dileep on its cover despite the fact that he is “accused of being the primary conspirator in the Kerala actor rape case.”
More than 650 people (activists, artists, academics, mediapersons) signed it, including many Network of Women in India (NWMI) members. The petition demands that Malayalam Manorama withdraw its latest issue of “Vanitha”.
In an email alert, Vetticad said, “The outrage is about a cover photograph on the magazine of a prominent Malayalam actor accused in a molestation case. On the cover he is seen with his family.” 
She added, “The photograph effectively covers up the fact that he is a prime accused in a sexual crime against a woman colleague.”
Vanitha, that translates as woman, is a fortnightly magazine published by Malayala Manorama. The Malayalam edition of the magazine has a readership of over of 2.27 million, making it the highest read magazine in India.
The petition asks addresses the Kerala government to hold consultations on the Justice Hema Commission report and implementation of its recommendations. The commission was set up by the Government of Kerala to study the issues of gender disparity, security and sexual harassment in the Malayalam film industry.
“The commission submitted its report in December 2019 but the government has neither had discussions or made it public”, Vetticad said.
Stating that the reforms recommended by the commission would have far-reaching implications for all working women, it draws attention to the need for IC’s (Internal Committees as per the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act, POSH) in all film production companies in order to ensure safety and security of women.
The signatories include prominent persons like Aparna Sen (filmmaker), Susie Tharu (academic), Suhasini Mulay (actor), Nilima Sheikh (artist), Maya Rao (theatre activist), Githa Hariharan (writer) and others. “All signatories have pledged their support to the women who are at the forefront of this struggle for a safe and conducive working environment for all professionals”, said Vetticad.
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Click here for the petition

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