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The ongoing #MeToo revelations have rattled the Kerala society and taken down some names with it. Prominent among them are veteran journalist and resident of The Hindu in Kerala, C.Gouridasan Nair, the co-founder and secretary of India’s Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Riyas Komu and poet A. Ayyappan.

Gouridasan Nair was relieved of his duties and forced to go on leave after Delhi based journalist Yamini Nair alleged in her blog that  “a senior journalist from Thiruvananthapuram had harassed her in 2005 while she was working in Chennai as a cub journalist”. After Yamini’s revelation many young women came forward to say how  Gouridasan Nair misbehaved with them using his power as a teacher and senior journalist.

The allegation against Riyas Komu is that he misbehaved with a young painter. In response, the Kochi Biennale Foundation  assembled a committee to investigate the allegations. “Though the foundation has received no formal complaint, we are collectively committed to ensuring zero tolerance to any harassment or misconduct. Riyas Komu has stepped down from all management positions connected to the biennale until the matter is resolved” said a statement from Kochi Biennale Foundation.

Two young women alleged sexual misconduct from the cult poet A. Ayyappan who passed away in 2010. A. Ayyappan is a revered poet for his anarchist poems and his anarchist ways of life.

Even before the #MeToo movement surfaced two prominent people were caught in alleged sexual harassment of women. A nun belonging to the Catholic congregation of Missionaries of Jesus in Jalandhar filed a police complaint against bishop Franco Mulakkal on June 27 this year accusing the bishop of sexually assaulting her over a period of two years starting in May 2014. Five nuns protested in front of the High Court of Kerala for two weeks which gathered enormous public support and media attention. The Bishop was subsequently arrested and spent two weeks in jail. He was given conditional bail. Days after the Bishop’s arrival in Jalandhar, Fr, Kuriakose Kattuthara, a priest who was a witness in the rape case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, was found dead in his bedroom. It has added more mystery to the whole affair.

Prior to that, famous film actor Dileep was accused of allegedly conspiring to attack a woman actor, hiring  goons to carry out the crime. The woman actor was abducted and sexually assaulted in February 2017, while she was traveling in her car from her home in Thrissur to Kochi. Dileep was arrested and spent over two months in jail. Even after being accused in the sexual assault on a co-actor, the film actors body A.M.M.A refused to expel Dileep from the organization. It was after the fraternity of women in cinema, Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) held a press conference and demanded action against him that Dileep was expelled from A.M.M.A.

Meanwhile in neighbouring Tamil film industry  filmmaker Leena Manimekalai put up a Facebook post naming director Susi Ganesan. Leena’s allegation adds Susi Ganesan’s name to a growing list that includes Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu, Tamil actors Radha Ravi, TM Karthik, John Vijay and Tamil singer Karthik.

#MeToo movement is a historical moment in Indian history. In India where women are treated like a property of the male, the urban women are no longer ready to accept the status co. The only code of law for Hindus is Manu Smriti. IX.3 of Manu Smriti says “Na stree svaatantryam arhati” (a woman does not deserve freedom). If we accept it or not, this code is underlying principle of male-female relations in India, cutting across religious, caste, nationalist, ethnographic differences. The women who are coming out loudly through the #MeToo movement is the beginning of a tsunami. #MeToo movement is now only an urban phenomenon. This has to take root and reach the rural masses. I sincerely wish and hope that the culture of #MeToo takes root in India and empower women to protect their dignity.

Binu Mathew is the editor of www.countercurrents.org

 

 

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