Rape, death threats push filmmaker Divya Bharathi out of TN
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.