Rape, death threats push film­maker Divya Bharathi out of TN

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - LALITHA RANJANI @ Madu­rai

Madu­rai-based doc­u­men­tary film­maker Divya Bharathi has left Tamil Nadu fol­low­ing per­sis­tent death, rape and acid-at­tack threats. The 25-year-old law grad­u­ate has been fac­ing a back­lash, re­port­edly for her doc­u­men­tary Kakoos, which throws light on man­ual scav­eng­ing, a prac­tice that is still con­tin­ued in Tamil Nadu. More than 10 cases have been reg­is­tered against Divya.

“I left Tamil Nadu, mainly due to per­sis­tent ha­rass­ment from caste groups — es­pe­cially par­ty­men of Puthiya Tamizhagam, which is headed by Dr K Kr­ish­naswamy,” Divya told Ex­press in a tele­phonic con­ver­sa­tion.

Twelve com­plaints have been reg­is­tered against her in Madu­rai and other dis­tricts, in­clud­ing Tirunelveli, Virud­hu­na­gar and Ra­manatha­pu­ram, while an FIR has been filed against her for cy­ber ter­ror­ism, among other charges, she added.

In July, Divya ac­cused Kr­ish­nasamy of in­sti­gat­ing par­ty­men to send her death threats and cir­cu­lat­ing mes­sages an­nounc­ing a bounty of `2 crore on her head. She said she had been re­ceiv­ing thou­sands of anony­mous calls each day and at times, her move­ments were be­ing closely watched as she was fol­lowed by uniden­ti­fied men.

“THE po­lice, who are keen on tak­ing ac­tion in cases against me, have not done much to en­sure my safety when I was ha­rassed and threat­ened, de­spite me lodg­ing a com­plaint with the Deputy Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice in Madu­rai last month,” said Divya, who is also the Madu­rai dis­trict con­vener of the All In­dia Stu­dents As­so­ci­a­tion.

She ques­tioned the tim­ing of the threats while claim­ing that the abuses were a re­sult of an­other doc­u­men­tary of hers, which she had up­loaded on­line on July 21. In the doc­u­men­tary, she speaks of the san­i­tary work­ers, who were dis­missed re­port­edly for giv­ing a pe­ti­tion against Anna Univer­sity Col­lege of En­gi­neer­ing (Dindigul) Prin­ci­pal S Chi­tra Selvi on July 13.

In their pe­ti­tion, 14 san­i­tary work­ers had com­plained of ill-treat­ment by the prin­ci­pal, who had al­legedly made them to work at her res­i­dence, where some women work­ers were al­leged to have been sex­u­ally ha­rassed by the prin­ci­pal’s hus­band Mu­ru­gavel Raja.

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