The open feud between the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) and the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) over the membership status of actor Dileep, accused in a sexual assault case, took a turn for the worse on Monday with no sign of any kind of reconciliation in the days ahead.
Actor Siddique, AMMA secretary, and actress KPAC Lalitha, a general body member, addressed reporters in Kochi to respond to the charges leveled by the founding members of WCC over the manner in which they were treated during a meeting in August to resolve the crisis existing between the two bodies.
Siddique confirmed that Dileep has submitted his resignation from AMMA which will be ratified by the film body’s executive committee later this month. At the same time, he defended the decision of the general body of AMMA to revoke the actor’s expulsion from the organisation.
“We must remember that he is an accused and has not been found guilty yet. When he was arrested last year, an emergency executive committee took the decision to remove him. That decision was revoked by 280 members of the general body who took the stand that the court must find him either guilty or innocent. Only then, will we take a decision to expel him. The executive committee cannot overrule the general body of AMMA,” Siddique told reporters in Kochi.
Siddique and Lalitha also lashed out at the members of WCC stressing that those who have walked out of AMMA must apologise for their mistakes before they return.
“Many things happen within an organisation. That must not be discussed outside. Before we agree to take them (WCC members who have quit) back, let them come and apologise for their mistakes,” said Lalitha, adding that AMMA has always given everyone an opportunity to address their grievances at the meetings.
The survivor of the sexual assault and three members of the WCC had walked out of AMMA earlier this year after the general body of the organisation took the decision to revoke Dileep’s expulsion.
“Who said we are not with the victim? Who said we didn’t do anything? After the incident was reported, I and others including Mohanlal spoke with the chief minister for days asking the government to take the issue seriously. The culprit, Pulsar Suni, was arrested a few days later,” said Siddique.
“We did not expel the victim. She walked out on her own expressing her disagreement with the stand of AMMA. We have always stood with her. All the people in Kerala are standing with her,” he added.
The AMMA secretary also warned that action will be taken against certain WCC members for making distasteful comments about AMMA president and actor Mohanlal.
“These attempts to break the unity within AMMA will never work. It will never happen,” he said.