Campaigner goes semi-nude to fight against casting couch

Sri Reddy, a Telugu actress who has been in the news the last few weeks for talking about the casting couch issue in Tollywood, staged a semi-nude protest at the Movie Artists Association (MAA) office in Hyderabad on Saturday.

Onlookers were shocked to see the artiste stripping her top and bottom outside the MAA office.

The Banjara Hills police removed her from there and took her to the police station.

Sri Reddy, who has acted in a few films, had been saying that women face harassment for chances in the industry.

She started the campaign in March by giving an interview to a television channel.

A few days ago, she claimed that Indian idol singer Sriram had harassed her.

Earlier this week, she spoke against popular director Sekhar Kammula. However, Sekhar demanded an open apology from her, failing which, he said, he would initiate civil and criminal proceedings.

Sekhar said he lives by his character and dies by it. Asserting that he had never seen her, Sekhar tweeted, "I could never imagine in my wildest dreams that a woman whom I don't know, have not seen or never spoken to in person or on the phone, can suddenly make these baseless allegations. Whatever might be their intentions and whoever might be involved in this diabolic act, I would like to say that it is WRONG, IMMORAL and CRIMINAL".

Sri Reddy was unmoved. She replied saying she would not succumb to money and power.

Apparently inspired by the 'Me Too' campaign that began in Hollywood and spread across the globe, Sri Reddy vowed to expose the harassment meted out to women in the industry.

Two days ago, the actor posted on Facebook that she wants to meet Chief Minister Chandrashekhar Rao and discuss the casting couch issue in Tollywood. She threatened to go nude in public if the chief minister did not bother to listen to her concerns about the industry.

Banjara Hills Assistant Commissioner of Police K Srinivasa Rao said Sri Reddy refused to give a formal complaint about her grievance against the film industry.

"She said she is denied opportunities. We assured her that we would take action if she gives us specific complaint. But she is reluctant", he said.

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