New Delhi [India]: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has warned the Kerala government that if the Justice Hema Committee’s report is not released within 15 days, then an independent enquiry will be conducted into the problems faced by female actors in the Malayalam film industry.
NCW Chairman Rekha Sharma has written to the Chief Secretary of Kerala, VP Joy to share the findings and recommendations of the report. The NCW Chairman, while speaking to media persons today, alleged that the Kerala film industry has been ridden with complaints of sexual harassment at the workplace for several years.
The Commission will also approach the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) members regarding the issue.
Sharma alleged that the production houses in the state have not constituted an internal committee to address the problems faced by women despite mandatory guidelines from the government.
“Quite a lot of time has passed since the Justice Hema Committee was formed. I went to Kerala two months back and raised this issue there because many people came and met me there on Justice Hema Committee’s report. The report is not been out yet, where the internal committee report or any report of sexual harassment should come within three months,” Sharma said.
She further said that she returned on March 22 and wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary, seeking a detailed report.
“When I came back on March 22, we had written a letter to Chief Secretary to send a report copy to us, also to the public. We asked to send a copy of that report to the complainants without mentioning the names and details of the complainants, but we have not received the copy yet. Today we have sent a reminder to the Chief Secretary,” the NCW Chairman said.
“If the report doesn’t come to us we will have our independent enquiry into the matter. We will send a team or maybe I will accompany the team and we will enquire into the matter,” she added.
THE NCW Chairman also said, “We will be waiting for 15 days for a report from the secretary and if we receive it, we will go through the report and if needed, we will be sending the team.”
She further said that it is mandatory to send the report to the complainant within three months alleging that it has not yet been sent.” Then it depends on the complainant whether they want to make it public or not, but they have not even given them to the complainants,” Sharma added.
Calling for the formation of an internal committee, she said that Justice Hema Committee should not have been formed.
“The complaint should go to the internal committee. Because there is no internal committee they formed this. It should be seen as an internal committee, not as a special commission. Where is an internal committee in these production houses? This committee was formed because there was a lack of internal committees in production houses,” Sharma said.
“Unless I see the complaints or the report, I won’t be able to tell which names are there or which are not because even women have not come forward to the NCW. We can take suo-moto cognizance. We will be taking it if they’ll not come forward. I would also like to say to Women in Cinema Collective that they should come forward and complain to us,” Sharma added.
In 2017, the Justice Hema Committee came into being in the state to study the gender issues in the Malayalam film industry. In 2019, the report based on the findings of the committee was submitted to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Reportedly, one of the reasons why the report was shelved is because of the secrecy of the statements. (ANI)