Karnataka

#MeToo row: Sruthi Hariharan records statement before magistrate

Prime News, State (Bengaluru), November 7:- Actor Sruthi Hariharan, who has levelled charges of sexual harassment against south Indian actor Arjun Sarja, recorded her statement before the magistrate on Wednesday. Her statement comes two days after Arjun Sarja appeared before Bengaluru’s Cubbon Park Police for questioning in connection with the case.

Sruthi Hariharan has lodged a complaint against Arjun accusing him of sexually harassing her on the sets of the movie Vismaya. Denying all allegations against him, Arjun Sarja moved the Karnataka High Court seeking protection from arrest. Karnataka High Court had directed police not to arrest him until November 14.

Arjun had approached the HC after Cubbon Park police registered an FIR under sections 354 (assault or criminal force on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (sexual harassment) and 506 (criminal intimidation) based on Sruthi’s complaint on October 27.

The Karnataka State Commission for Women had taken suo motu cognisance of the complaints made by Sruthi and had asked the City Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar to submit a report on the investigation.

On October 20, Sruthi had posted a long Facebook message detailing the alleged sexual assault she faced from Arjun Sarja during the rehearsal of a romantic scene on the movie sets.

“I reached the set around 7:30 am and continued up to 6 pm. On the day, as per the script, we needed to hug after a particular dialogue, After the scene was over, there was rehearsal as desired by the director. During rehearsal, Arjun Sarja began cuddling, touching my hips, moving up to my bra, bringing the movement of the hand down to my hip and further down to my thigh. I took exception that he behaved inappropriately and out of context. I silently suffered and was unable to express it since I am an upcoming artist. Apart from that, he was a senior established artist having clout in the film industry,” Sruthi has stated in her complaint.

She added that the sexual harassment continued, with Arjun Sarja suggesting changes to the scene. “Before I could react, he again pulled me very close and moved his hand behind my back, asking the director ‘whether we can improvise like this in the scene.’ I immediately went to the director and told him I cannot work like this as all his gestures/acts are intended to insult my modesty and all his advances, physical contact is nothing but explicit sexual overtures. Unable to be consoled, I rushed to the caravan and started weeping,” she had stated. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).

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