On Sunday (January 16), a few members of WCC (Women in Cinema Collective) including directors Didi Damodaran, Anjali Menon, actors Parvathy and Padmapriya and singer Sayanora Philip met Women Commission Chairperson P Sathidevi to discuss and seek her intervention to make the Hema panel report public.
However, to their much disappointment, it was informed that the Kerala government is not bound to place the report in the assembly as the committee had not been set up under the Commission of Inquiry Act. The Hindu quoted P Sathidevi as saying, "I learn from the then Minister for Cultural Affairs that the committee had not been set up under the Commission of Inquiry Act. So, the government is not bound to place it in the assembly."
Talking about the disparity in wages in the Malayalam film industry despite the existence of the Equal Remuneration Act, she said, "Even years after the passage of the Equal Remuneration Act, the disparity in wages is a reality in the industry. The commission is of the view that every production house should be given registration for filmmaking only after it sets up an ICC (Internal Complaints Committee). We will place these issues before the government. We came to know that some of these companies were not even aware of the existence of ICCs."
Well, responding to the same, director Didi Damodaran stated that they were not aware that the committee document need not become a public one. Adding that it is good that a new committee is being constituted to examine the recommendations and to eventually frame regulations on the basis of it, she expressed that they wished the document would become public.
The Hema Commission was formed in 2017 after WCC submitted a request to the Kerala Chief Minister after a popular actress was sexually assaulted that year. The commission was also formed to address gender inequality in the industry.
For women in distress help available at, Central Social Welfare Board -Police Helpline: 1091/ 1291, (011) 23317004; Shakti Shalini- women's shelter: (011) 24373736/ 24373737; All India Women's Conference: 10921/ (011) 23389680; Joint Women's Programme: (011) 24619821; Sakshi- violence intervention center: (0124) 2562336/ 5018873; Nirmal Niketan (011) 27859158; JAGORI (011) 26692700; Nari Raksha Samiti: (011) 23973949; RAHI Recovering and Healing from Incest. A support centre for women survivors of child sexual abuse: (011) 26238466/ 26224042, 26227647.