Telugu actor Sri Reddy sits during a 'strip protest' outside the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce | PTI
Telugu actor Sri Reddy sits during a 'strip protest' outside the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce | PTI
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The actor had stripped in front of cameras and sat topless in protest against the Movie Artists’ Association on 7 April, after her protests went unheard.

New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Thursday took suo motu cognisance of media reports about the alleged sexual exploitation of women in the Telugu film industry.

The watchdog’s move comes in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment made by Sri Reddy, a Telugu film actor, against top members of the industry. On 7 April, the actress stripped in front of cameras and sat topless in protest against the Movie Artists’ Association (MAA) of the Telugu film industry.

The issue has grabbed headlines in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for over a week now, prompting a debate on ‘casting couch’ and victimisation of acting aspirants.

The human rights body has issued notices to the chief secretary, government of Telangana, and the secretary, union ministry of information and broadcasting, calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks.

The NHRC has also observed that the legal action taken against Sri Reddy for obscenity “appears to be an attempt to muzzle the voice of whistle blower both from the sides of MAA and the state authorities.”

The actress claimed she was denied MAA membership after she went public with her grievances.

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The NHRC has also taken note of the fact that since MAA does not yet have a committee against sexual harassment (CASH) the actress cannot seek redressal of her grievances, if there is any sexual harassment at the work place.

“As laid down in the Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 Act, ‘workplace’ includes not only the government organisations/offices but also private ventures,” the NHRC observed.

The MAA had also stated that action will be taken against any artist who decides to share screen space with Reddy, after it lodged a police complaint against her for nudity and creating public nuisance.

The industry body has, however, denied her allegations in a statement, terming them “baseless and false”.

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