New Delhi: Hours after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) slapped notices on the Telangana government and the Information & Broadcasting Ministry on the alleged sexual exploitation of women in the Telugu film industry, the Movie Artists Association (MAA) has withdrawn its ban on Tollywood actress and #MeToo campaigner Sri Reddy. It also lifted the restrictions on all its 900 members from acting with Sri Reddy. The Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce also announced the setting up of a Committee Against Sexual Harassment (CASH) at workplaces to deal with complaints of sexual harassment.
MAA president Sivaji Raja, Producers Council president Thammareddy Bharadwaja, and other senior leaders addressed a joint press conference on Thursday, responding to the NHRC notices. “We withdraw our Monday’s decision not to give her membership in MAA and advise her to apply for it. The screening committee will take a decision at its tri-monthly meeting,” announced Sivaji Raja, adding that MAA members are free to act with her. “Sri Reddy is our sister,” he declared. He also said that director Teja had assured MAA that he would honour the agreements he had signed with the actress for two films. “She will continue to get roles,” he added. Bharadwaja assured that they will be setting up the Committee Against Sexual Harassment within four days (CASH), which is mandatory as per the Supreme Court directive and also in accordance with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013.
This comes as a victory for Sri Reddy whose protest against alleged casting couch and sexual harassment of women in the Telugu film industry began with a seminude dharna in front of the MMA office in Hyderabad on Saturday. It was followed by the association’s ban.