Kannada actor, Samyuktha Hegde, has accused AICC member Kavitha Reddy of moral policing her friends and her, by shaming and attacking them while they were working out in a public park. The video she recorded of the incident has gone viral.
Samyuktha Hegde Was Heckled For Wearing “Indecent Clothing” In Public
Samyuktha Hegde recorded the incident on her Instagram live, where a mob, along with Kavitha Reddy, can be seen heckling the actor. The police had arrived on the scene too by then.
As Samyuktha explains her side of the story – that she was merely working out and dancing with hula hoops in the park with her friends – Kavitha Reddy can be heard in the background talking about the girls’ “indecent behaviour” and inappropriate clothes.
At one point, Hegde takes off her pullover to show the viewers what she was wearing while working out – a sports bra. “We were just exercising with hoops and this woman (Kavitha Reddy) came up to us and started saying that we were being indecent for wearing a sports bra in a public place.”
A clip she shared on Twitter shows Kavitha Reddy charging to attack one of her friends.
Hegde’s pleas for space are constantly ignored as the mob follows her and closes in on her, despite mandatory social distancing being in place during the pandemic.
When she points this out, Reddy says in Kannada, “Forget social distancing, first you learn some decency”.
Samyuktha replies that because she has decency, she never tried to hit her, unlike when Kavitha Reddy tried to hit them.
To this Reddy replies patronizingly, “If you wear these clothes and do “nanga naach” in public I have to hit you only.” Turning to the cops she says, “Drag them to the police station. We have to teach these girls some manners.”
Meanwhile, the crowd, consisting largely of men, begins to chant slogans, on a completely unrelated note, about taking down actors who do drugs. Samyuktha claims that the men threatened that they would destroy her career by linking her name in the ongoing drug scandal in the Kannada film industry.
At one point the gates to the park are locked so Samyuktha and her friends cannot leave.
The police can be heard telling Samyuktha “Kirichbeda (stop shouting)” as she helplessly tries to make a hostile crowd that is invading her space, see her side of the story. On her Instagram post on the incident, Hegde wrote, “Was extremely disappointed with how the police who came to the location, behaved like nothing was wrong and spoke to her with respect while asking us to be quiet.”
“Yesterday was really hard and it was so disturbing to go through this,” she writes. “When we went to the police station, everyone there already knew her and spoke to her nicely and saw us like we were wrong… It’s not easy being strong around people who are trying to break you, and having to listen to so many people harass us for doing nothing.”
The Issue Has Gone Viral Online
Several netizens along with a few celebrities like Richa Chadha have asserted their support for Samyuktha.
Retweeting the video, Richa Chadha wrote, “Just because you think someone isn’t dressed like they ought to, in YOUR opinion, gives you no right to charge towards them or slap them. The world doesn’t need more moral policing, especially not from sanctimonious aunties. Plz behave. Respect is a 2 way street.”
On the other hand, there are several responses to the video that are still in support of Reddy’s decision to shame Hegde.
One Twitter user writes, “In public place with this workout dress even I being a lady is intrigued as to whether u were trying to do work out or get customers.”
For Months, Samyuktha Has Spoken Of How Dancing Is Her Safe Space – Here’s Hoping This Harrowing Incident Hasn’t Changed That
During the lockdown, Samyuktha had been sharing several videos of her dancing, many of which have her dancing in open spaces with the hula hoop.
In an Instagram post 3 weeks ago, she penned down a lengthy tribute to dance, talking about how it was the one thing that has kept her going and something she will never let go of. Talking about how she initially found her passion for dancing in school, she explained that she couldn’t afford the cost for professional classes back then. So she trained herself by dancing wherever she could, in open spaces.
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“I found a place where I knew I would get better but I also knew my family couldn’t afford the costs of those classes (and I knew if I asked my dad, he would probably take a loan for me and I really didn’t want that). So, I trained myself till I finished my 10th grade. I would just go to open spaces and dance, just like this.”
It is sad to imagine the impact this recent trauma will have not only on her, but also on this passion that until now she’s felt secure enough in to express in public spaces all her life.
Kavitha Reddy, After Denying That She Was In The Wrong, Has Offered An (Unsatisfactory) Apology
Initially Reddy had put out an elaborate statement claiming that she was being blamed unnecessarily.
Once the video went viral, however, she has offered her apology. Even while apologising, however, she claims that she has always “opposed moral policing” and it’s “unthinkable” that she being a “progressive woman” would ever do that to others. She claims that her actions were misconstrued to be moral policing.
“I have always opposed Moral Policing. I realize that my actions were construed as such. An argument ended up in me reacting aggressively as well, it was a mistake. As a responsible citizen n progressive woman, I own up to n sincerely apologise to @SamyukthaHegde and her Friends!”, she wrote.
Samyuktha has responded to the video, saying she accepts the apology. “Apologies accepted Ms Kavitha Reddy. I hope we can all move forward from the incident and make women feel safe everywhere.”
Here’s hoping that day – when women feel safe everywhere – comes soon.
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