The case of Samyuktha Hegde has lifted the lid on moral policing in the country. 'Moral policing' is not new to India as a concept, and is something women have particularly been subjected to for the longest time.
After Kannada actress, Samyuktha took to social media to reveal an incident that took place in a park on Saturday, it led to an outcry against moral policing and assault. The video showed Congress member Kavitha Reddy assaulting Samyuktha's friend and slandering her. However, Kavitha Reddy has her own version of the incident.
The incident at the park involving Samyuktha and Kavitha Reddy
The park near the Agara Lake in HSR Layout, Bengaluru became the site of an untoward incident. In a confrontation between actress Samyuktha Hegde and Congress member Kavitha Reddy, the actress shared videos of the latter assaulting and insulting her in public over the clothes she and her friends were wearing. Samyuktha had been working out with hoops while dressed in a pair of joggers and a sports bra.
Kavitha Reddy was accused by Samyuktha for 'moral policing' over her attire. In the video, she is also seen attempting to hit one of her friends. Samyuktha and her friends were working out at the park. In the actress' Instagram Live Reddy was heard abusing the women and asking if they were 'dancing naked'.
The altercation between the two women turned into a public one as cops were called to the spot and ten men joined in. Kavitha Reddy alleged 'public indecency' on part of Samyuktha and her friends. In the live, the actress also pointed out that the men had alleged she was taking drugs following which she removed her sweatshirt to show what she had been wearing while working out.
The actress had made an appeal saying that this was wrong and action had to be taken against Kavitha Reddy and the men present that day. Having filed a written complaint an FIR has also been filed at the HSR Layout Police station against Kavitha Reddy for assaulting the actress and her friends.
Kavitha Reddy's statement on the matter
Following the incident, the videos were circulated widely on social media as the public entered the debate. Many condemned what happened to the actress. On Saturday evening Congress' Kavitha Reddy came forward to speak about her version of the events that took place.
In her statement, Kavitha wrote about her side, "So, here is my version that can be collaborated not on some victim claiming video but by real people on ground. I was called by the Walkers and Guard at Agara Lake saying that some 3 Girls have been playing music and dancing and there are complains daily why it is allowed in the Park when no other Park allows &, when the Guard called there was already shouting and screaming going on."
She had further written, "I went and met Samyuktha and 2 of her friends (I was not aware that she was some movie star, but that would not have changed much anyways) and told them that playing music and dancing is not allowed in the Park and they should respect the basic rules of any Park, I also gave an example of a friend who was doing some activity and was asked to leave as it was not permitted. At no point I made a reference to her attire, I called the two Guards and asked Samyuktha and 2 of her friends to apologize to them as they have abused and shouted at them for doing thelr job, Samyuktha and 2 of her friends told me that Guards also made some remarks, I told her that all the 3 apologize and he will also apologize for his mistake."
She said that Samyuktha had begun screaming at her and her friends began recording the incident, following which the matter escalated. Kavitha Reddy alleged that Samyuktha's friend in the 'purple-pink attire' had abused her at which the older woman was provoked. She alleged that Samyuktha had misbehaved with the public and media present as well.
Writing about the charges of moral policing Kavitha Reddy had said:
It's ridiculous to say that I was doing some "Moral Policing" when the fact remains that I
also go for a Run wearing shorts and many who come to Agara Lake wear what they want
without any dress Code or restrictions.
Even if I am asked 100 times this is the sequence of the incident and at no point I commented on her Attire, and definitely felt it was totally unnecessary to pull out her t-shirt to do a live video.
She also wrote that this was an avoidable incident and that she regrets getting angry and emotional in the matter. She also regretted trying to hit Samyuktha's friend. Moreover, Kavitha Reddy said she takes full responsibility and that it has nothing to do with INC.
After putting out her version, Kavitha Reddy has since issued an unconditional apology to Samyuktha and her friends, "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 n her Friends!"
She said in an earlier tweet, "I agree that no woman should undergo what happened with them during the incident. In hindsight, I regret my social media posts about the incident and have taken them down along with my earlier post about my side of the incident. I have carefully considered the entire episode and I am sorry for this. I hope that we can put this incident behind us and work towards a safer and better future for women."
Samyuktha Hegde has accepted Kavitha Reddy's apology, she also pointed out that Kavitha Reddy hadn't taken down her posts.
Further details will be published as and when received.