A Malayalam film director has been arrested on rape charges in Kerala after a woman who met him on social media accused him of raping her multiple times over several months on the pretext of romance.
Liju Krishna, 36, was arrested on Sunday from Kannur by a police team from Kochi and booked for rape.
The woman who lives in Kochi sent her written complaint to Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), an organisation that took shape after the kidnap and rape of a hugely popular actress five years ago. The WCC forwarded the complaint to police that went to Kannur, where shooting for Krishna’s big-budget film Padavettu was underway, and took him to Kochi where his arrest was recorded.
Shooting of the film, which stars Manju Warrier and Nivin Pauly in lead roles, has since been halted.
The woman accused Krishna of raping her and forcing her into unnatural sex, leaving her with a spinal injury in the lengthy complaint posted on the Facebook page of Women Against Sexual Harassment. She said she became pregnant but repeated assaults led to a miscarriage and she had to seek psychiatric help to handle the trauma.
According to the woman, Krishna met her in February 2020 and “pretended to be friends” with her. “Taking advantage of my polite demeanour, he worked towards convincing me and others that I was engaged in a romantic relationship with him,” she wrote in English.
Apparently in view of the trend of blaming the survivor, she warned of legal action against anyone who dared to victim shame her. “There will be strict legal action against those who victim shame me or attack me personally on social media or otherwise trying to tarnish my image and identity.”
According to her allegations, Krishna first raped her on June 21, 2020 after she was “forcibly taken to the premises rented for the production purposes of his film Padavettu”.
The WCC called for the immediate suspension of Krishna from all film associations and a ban from the Malayalam film industry until the final outcome of the case.
The organisation has been working against sexual harassment in the film industry after the February 2017 abduction and sexual assault of a popular actress.
One of the top actors in the Malayalam film industry, Dileep, had spent over 80 days in judicial custody for allegedly hiring a gang who abducted the actress and assaulted her in a moving car in Ernakulam five years ago. While Dileep has denied all charges, the case is pending.
In her first appearance before the media since the incident, the actress was on Sunday interviewed by journalist Barkha Dutt. During the interview, she said she was a survivor and not a victim anymore and vowed to fight for justice.