The reported decision of the Malayalam film industry body to take back actor Dileep, an accused in the alleged sexual assault of a young actress, into its fold has come in for severe criticism from Kerala Women's Commission, state ministers and politicians cutting across party lines.
A general body meeting of AMMA (Association of Malayalam Movie Artists) earlier this week reportedly decided to take back actor Dileep, an accused in the sexual assault case, into its fold.
A day after four actresses resigned in protest against the move, support is pouring in from various quarters with growing demand for re-examination of the matter.
State ministers, G Sudhakaran, J Mercykutty Amma and Kerala Women's Commission chairperson, M C Josephine, took exception to the supportive stand taken by the two left MLAs -- K B Ganesh Kumar, Mukesh -- and Innocent, MP, all members of then association, on the matter.
Strongly attacking AMMA, Ms Josephine said the film body's "decision" to take back Dileep, who is an accused in the actor assault case, was "not right."
"Investigation is over in the case and chargesheet has also been filed and prima facie Dileep is one of the accused in the case. It is for the court to decide if he has committed the crime or not."
"But he is an accused and taking him back at this stage was inappropriate," she said.
She added that AMMA needs to make its stand clear on the issue.
Ms Josephine also said it was 'unfortunate' that the first decision taken by Superstar Mohanlal, who took over the reins as President recently, was to bring back Dileep into the organisation.
"Mohanlal is Kerala's biggest star, who has been bestowed with the honorary post of Lieutenent Colonel. He is a person who has fans the world over. The actor is holding such a responsible position and it is unfortunate this was the first decision he took after taking charge as AMMA president," she stated.
The government should view seriously the stand of the left MLAs and MPs, she added.
At least three Kerala ministers have also come out openly in support of the four actresses who quit.
Finance minister, Thomas Isaac, said AMMA's decision showed the 'male chauvinistic attitude' of the Malayalam film industry at its worst form.
The actresses have raised very pertinent queries before putting in their papers and AMMA is bound to respond, he said. Those at the helm of the organisation have the responsibility to respond to the queries raised by them, Mr Isaac said in a Facebook post.
AMMA needs to self introspect on their action, he said.
Fisheries Minister, J Mercykutty, said those who have done wrong, however high he may be, should be punished and the government stand was very clear on the matter and it was always with the victim.
Lashing out at Dileep, PWD minister G Sudhakaran said he was "arrogance personified" and alleged a lobby was controlling the Malayalam film industry.
Senior Congress leader, V M Sudheeran, said AMMA's decision was akin to questioning the legal system, "This is a very wrong decision and should be rectified as soon as possible by the office bearers."
Yesterday, Veteran marxist leader, V S Achutanandan had hailed the actresses and said it was a 'brave move' to resign.
Associations which do not consider the rights of its members are not good for the film industry, he said
BJP MP V Muraleedharan also attacked AMMA saying its reported decision to take back Dileep was "unfortunate."
The actress, who was sexually assaulted in a moving car last year, had resigned from AMMA yesterday alleging that the organisation had not stood by her during the crisis.
The actress, who has worked in Tamil and Telugu films, was allegedly abducted and molested in her car for two hours by the accused, who had forced their way into the vehicle on the night of February 17, 2017 and later escaped in a busy area.