Health Minister K K Shailaja on Sunday supported Malayalam dubbing artiste Bhagyalakshmi and two other women for confronting a man, Vijay P Nair, who insulted women through abusive YouTube videos. She also said that the Police had informed her that a case had been registered against the YouTuber.
Earlier, the police had registered a case against Bhagyalakshmi and others on the basis of a complaint filed by Vijay Nair. In what is seen as a snub to the police force for their apparent eagerness to file a case against the women, the minister made it clear that the way Bhagyalakshmi and friends handled the YouTuber could be discussed later.
The police case against Vijay is on the basis of a complaint the women had filed before the Police Cyber Cell. "I have been told that after a preliminary investigation the Cyber Cell has asked the Museum police to register a case," the minister said.
The Museum police has registered a case against Vijay invoking IPC section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman), which can be punished with a jail term of three years, and Kerala Police Act section 120 (penalty for causing nuisance and violation of public order), with a maximum jail term of one year.
The minister said that the Thampanoor police had already registered a case against Vijay under IPC section 359 (the use of criminal force with the intention to outrage the modesty of a woman), which can lead to a two-year imprisonment.
She said the Museum police had also registered a case against Shanthivila Dinesan, a filmmaker, on the basis of the report of the Hi-Tech Cell, which found that Dinesan had made defamatory and derogatory statements in his YouTube channel. Bhagyalakshmi and friends had filed a complaint against Dinesan also.
"This government will not encourage any kind of assault against women. The government will not remain a mute spectator when women are subjected to reprehensible forms of abuse on social media," the health minister said.
Bhagyalakshmi had said that they had to take the law into their own hands after the police failed to act despite repeated complaints.
On Saturday, Bhagyalakshmi, reality show contestant Diya Sanaa and activist Sreelakshmi Arakkal barged into the room of Dr Vijay P Nair in Thiruvananthapuram and poured motor oil on his face.
They slapped him and hurled abuses at him. They took away the laptop and other gadgets used by Nair for uploading the content on YouTube.
They took the gadgets to the city police commissioner's office, but the officials refused to receive them. They were directed to the Thampanoor police station where they submitted the gadgets and filed a fresh complaint.
"I'm happy that Bhagyalakshmi and others responded against the man. I appreciate them for their action. The man posted extremely vulgar videos on social media. Both women and men should react against such people. But we could discuss the mode of their reaction later," the minister said.
The protesters had streamed the assault live on Facebook. The protesters were provoked by a video posted by Nair on his YouTube channel a month ago.
In the YouTube video, Nair made derogatory remarks against some feminists in Kerala. Nair, who identifies himself as an author and film personality, runs a YouTube channel that features videos about topics including sex.
He also claims to have a doctorate in Psychology. The protesters had filed a complaint against him with the State Women's Commission, Cyber Cell, Women and Child Development department and State Gender Advisor.
Bhagyalakshmi told Manorama News that they resorted to the protest as the police did not act on their complaint. She also said they were fed up with the insult they had been facing.
Nair, who had earlier said he had apologised to the women and he did not have any complaint, later changed his stance and led a police complaint.