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Malayalam actress assault case: Artistes express solidarity with survivor as witnesses turn hostile

 Revathy, Rima Kallingal, Parvathy Thiruvothu rally around the abduction and assault survivor as key witnesses Siddique and Bhamaa turn hostile.

Outspoken trio: Revathy, Parvathy and Rima Kallingal

Our Correspondent

In February 2017, a popular Malayalam film actress was abducted and sexually assaulted by a group of men in a moving vehicle. Though there were 10 accused in the case, only seven, including key accused Sunil aka Pulsar Suni, were arrested. Dileep, one of the top stars in Malayalam cinema at the time, was also arrested and accused of orchestrating the assault on his colleague to settle personal scores. Dileep was released on bail in October 2017 by the Kerala high court on his fifth attempt but with stringent conditions.

The trial in the case resumed recently and two key witnesses, filmmaker Siddique and actress Bhamaa, have reportedly turned hostile and refused to stand by their original statements.

The website cited a recent report in the Malayalam-language Mathrubhumi newspaper according to which “Siddique and Bhamaa, in their initial statements, had stated that they saw a fight erupt between the actress and the accused Dileep during rehearsals for an event”.

Before Siddique and Bhamaa, actor Edavela Babu and actress Bindu Panniker had gone back in court on the statements they had made to the police.

Several Malayalam film actresses have criticized this turnaround. Many took to social media to express solidarity with the survivor, using the hashtag #Avalkoppam.

Actress and filmmaker Revathy slammed Siddique and Bhamaa, writing, "It’s sad that we can’t trust our own colleagues in the film industry. So many years of work, so many projects, but when there is an issue for a ‘woman’ it all takes a back seat."

Outspoken actress Rima Kallingal shared a heartfelt post, saying, "Shame. Deeply hurt that colleagues who stood by the survivor have turned hostile in the last minute when she needed their help the most."

Actress Parvathy Thiruvothu, another fiery member of the Malayalam film industry, also expressed disgust at the witnesses turning hostile, emphasizing the trauma of the survivor. She shared a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

The Gulf News paper reported that the prosecution has now approached a special court in Kochi to seek cancellation of Dileep’s bail on the grounds that he is influencing witnesses in the case. The plea is likely to be considered today.

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