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Actor-politician Suresh Gopi booked for 'misbehaving' with woman journalist

Kozhikode (Kerala): The Kerala police on Saturday registered a case against actor-turned-politician Suresh Gopi for his alleged misbehaviour with a woman journalist during his interaction with reporters in Kozhikode.

Nadakkavu Police here registered the case based on the complaint of a journalist working with a local television channel.

She lodged the complaint along with the purported video of the incident with the city police commissioner, who, in turn, handed it over to the local police station for further action.

The woman journalist also took up the issue with the Kerala Women’s Commission, which sought a report from the District Police Chief on the incident that occurred on Friday.

‘A case was registered against Suresh Gopi under IPC 354,’ a police officer told PTI.

IPC 354 refers to the assaults or use of criminal force against any woman, intending to outrage her modesty.

However, the officer declined to divulge further details of the investigation at the moment.

The former BJP Rajya Sabha member landed in trouble after a video that surfaced online purportedly showing Gopi placing his hand on the shoulder of the journalist, who pushed it away twice, during a media interaction in northern Kozhikode on Friday.

Facing intense criticism from various quarters, the ‘Kaliyattam’ actor tendered an apology earlier in the day, saying he only treated her with affection.

He said he had never been disrespectful to anyone in his life on or off the stage and apologised to her if she had suffered any mental agony due to his behaviour.

Gopi said he had treated the woman journalist affectionately in the presence of other mediapersons.

‘But, in my opinion, whatever she feels about it should be respected. I tender an apology if she felt bad or suffered any mental stress anyway… Sorry,’ Gopi, also a national award-winning actor, said in a Facebook post.

Despite his apology, criticism from various quarters came up about his alleged inappropriate behaviour.

Strongly condemning the incident, Women’s Commission Chairperson P Sathidevi said a direction was given to the police to carry out a factual probe into it.

‘The complaint is serious, and it won’t end with an apology,’ she said in a statement.

She said an atmosphere should be created for women to work with dignity and confidence in workplaces.

The anti-women attitude persisting in society is also affecting women in the media sector, Sathidevi added.

Ministers R Bindhu and Veena George also harshly criticised Gopi’s behaviour towards the woman journalist during the media interaction.

The Democratic Youth Federation of India, the youth wing of the ruling CPI(M), the Network of Women in Media, Kerala and the Kerala Union of Working Journalists demanded stern action against the saffron party leader.

However, senior BJP leader Shobha Surendran came in support of Gopi and alleged that there was a political conspiracy behind the row.

She said the actor-politician had shown decency to apologise to the complainant, and the row should have ended there.

BJP state chief K Surendran also said though it was not an act with any malicious intention, Gopi tendered an apology to the woman journalist.

In a Facebook post, he requested everybody to end the row at least now.

(Published 28 October 2023, 16:18 IST)

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