Vol. XLIII No. 14 April 07, 2019
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DYFI Condemns Actress’ Character Assassination

THROUGH a statement issued from New Delhi on November 4, 2013, the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) protested in the strongest possible words the character assassination against Ms Shweta Menon, a film actress from Kerala, by Congress leaders after she lodged a complaint against a Congress MP, N Peetambara Kurup, for molesting her in public during the inauguration ceremony of president’s boat race at Kollam, Kerala. The immense pressure and intimidation forced Ms Shweta Menon, who won the best actress award of the Kerala government two times, to state that she would withdraw her legal proceedings against the MP. Since there is nothing to support the MP in this case as the incident happened in broad daylight and in a televised public function, the Congress leaders have resorted to character assassination of the actress by casting doubts on her complaint and questioning her character. Even the roles played by her in films are being used for this vicious campaign and the effigies of the actress were burnt in many places. A barrage of comments is being made by Congress leaders and even by elected representatives, and their choice of words is not just unethical but also meant to influence the course of the investigation. There are laws that safeguard the victims of sexual offences from such insinuations, the DYFI reminded. The all-India leadership of the ruling Congress party, that has a woman at its top, should reveal its stand on the issue even though their attitude towards sexual harassments are pretty clear as the central government diluted or simply left out all the strong recommendations of the Justice Verma committee while enacting the Nirbhaya law. Rahul Gandhi, the vice president of the Congress, who brilliantly played his role in the well planned drama on the ordinance on tainted MPs and MLAs, also should disclose his stand, the DYFI has demanded. The statement said it is the responsibility of the state to give protection and support to the actress. The incident once gain shows the complete failure of the Kerala government in providing safety to women in the state. A mere apology by the offender or the withdrawal of legal proceedings by the petitioner does not mean that the said incident did not happen. The CEC of DYFI, while strongly condemning the atrocity against Ms Shweta Menon, also demanded that the government of Kerala take stern actions against the Congress leaders who have done this character assassination. It also asked the government to create an atmosphere conducive for women who wish to seek legal action in cases of sexual atrocity.