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Artists' forum, the Left speak up for Kushboo

R. Sarath Kumar.  

Tamil Nadu Bureau

CHENNAI: The scales seem to be tilting in favour of actors Kusbhoo and Suhasini, who had been at the receiving end for some time legally and otherwise, following the former's alleged remarks on pre-marital sex.

Even as Dalit Panthers of India leader Thol.Tirumavalavan denied that his party was agitating against Ms. Kushboo, the Nadigar Sangam and the Left parties today came out strongly against the "harassment'' meted out to her.

Decrying the tendency to turn actors into soft targets, Nadigar Sangam general secretary Sarath Kumar said the association would no longer take things lying down and was planning a course of action — even legal protection, if necessary — to ensure that such attacks against actors were not repeated. There was no bias against female actors in the Sangam and members would rise above political affiliations to safeguard the actors' rights.

However, actors too should exercise caution in expressing certain views in public, as their actions could hurt the industry in general, Mr. Sarath Kumar told The Hindu . The Sangam was talking to all actors and the course of action would be finalised soon, he said

Though Ms. Kushboo's opinions were entirely her own and the Sangam had no view on that, the violent demonstrations against her — throwing chappals, broomsticks, rotten egges and effigy-burning — were unacceptable, more so the demand for a public apology from her. "The Sangam will be made stronger to deal with such issues. We did not let Kushboo down, we even refused to axe her from the executive committee as demanded by some.''

The Sangam might take up the matter with the Chief Minister. The Censor Board and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry would be approached too.

Meanwhile, the CPI and the CPI (M) have taken exception to the violent protests against Ms. Kusbhoo.

`Unpleasant dimensions'

The CPI State secretary, D.Pandian, said, in a statement here, that the agitation and the court cases against Ms. Kushboo had "assumed unpleasant dimensions." " Those who disagreed with her views should not resort to agitations in violation of democratic norms,'' he said.

Though the views expressed by the actor on pre-marital sex were not acceptable to the CPI(M), the party held that those who disagreed with her should resort to healthy, democratic means of protest, the party's State secretary, N.Varadarajan said in a press release.

"In a democracy, people have a right to express what they believe or what they want to. When people do not agree with that view, they have the right to come out with a counter opinion or oppose it through a healthy debate. What is objectionable here is the way chosen to show the opposition," Kanimozhi, daughter of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president, M.Karunanidhi, and founder-member of the recently formed forum for free speech, Karuthu, said.

`DPI, PMK not responsible'

Mr. Tirumavalavan denied that that DPI and Pattali Makkal Katchi workers were behind the agitations against Ms. Kusuhboo, as was alleged.

Her subsequent interview to a Tamil daily — after the first one about premarital/safe sex — about the chastity of Tamil women evoked spontaneous protests by people as it was against a social reality.

When pointed out that both the PMK and DPI workers were found participating in an agitation against Ms. Kushboo at Mettur, Mr. Tirumavalavan said the public on their own organised the agitation in various parts of the State and some people might have carried party flags. However, the parties were in no way responsible for it, he said.