Differences crop up between WCC and 2 Kerala ministers over Hema panel report

Thiruvananthapuram, May 2 (IANS) Two Kerala Ministers were caught on the wrong foot on Monday over the Hema Committee report which went into the various issues plaguing the Malayalam film industry when their statements was refuted by the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), leaving them red-faced.
 
Differences crop up between WCC and 2 Kerala ministers over Hema panel report

Thiruvananthapuram, May 2 (IANS) Two Kerala Ministers were caught on the wrong foot on Monday over the Hema Committee report which went into the various issues plaguing the Malayalam film industry when their statements was refuted by the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), leaving them red-faced.

National Women's Commission chairperson Rekha Sharma on Monday joined issue and wrote to Chief Secretary V.P. Joy to see that appropriate action was taken on the Hema Committee report and give file report in 15 days.

The Justice (rtd) Hema Committee looked into the issues plaguing the film industry mostly from an actress's perspective and submitted its report to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in 2019. Since then it had been lying in cold storage.

It cost the state exchequer Rs 1.50 crore and took two years after the Hema committee spoke to various stakeholders in the industry.

Trouble began when State Industries Minister P. Rajeev stated that the WCC did not want the Hema committee report to be published and that is what they told him when they had a meeting in January this year.

"They (WCC) said that the report need not be published, instead the government should ensure that all the recommendations in the report are implemented," said Rajeev.

State Minister for Cinema, Saji Cherian went a step ahead and said the decision whether to publish the report or not lies with the state government.

"Even the person who prepared the report said this report should not be published, then how can the report be made a public document," asked Cherian.

When the ministers' statement came out the WCC went into a huddle and after an online meeting they made their stand public when they published their letter given to Rajeev in January, which spilled the beans.

They released the letter on their social media page. It said:

"WCC has taken very seriously the Hema Committee and the report it has submitted. When we observed that in spite of so much money, time and effort spent on the report there was no action, WCC approached various government agencies. We raised our voices and concerns regarding the silence from the side of the government. It is not enough to produce recommendations without the context of the findings. The case studies (removing the names and other details of the survivors) which have led to these recommendations must be known. Setting up committees and discussions on the recommendations is not enough. The public needs to know the basis on which these recommendations have been made. It is also important that we know if the Hema Committee has endorsed these recommendations."

They said they will be participating in the meeting called by Cherian on Wednesday to discuss various issues of the Malayalam film industry and present on the occasion will be all the stakeholders in the industry.

But things appear to have taken a turn for the worse for the two ministers when Sharma on Monday told the media in Delhi that it was mandatory for reports to be published.

"For long the WCC too have been demanding the same. There is a law with regard to such things and it's not what individuals ( ministers) say. In 15 days the chief secretary will have to let us know what has happened. Appropriate action will be there also," said Sharma.

All eyes are on the contents of the report as an actress had said that if the report is published then a lot of skeletons will tumble out from the cupboards of some people who are adored in Kerala.

--IANS

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