Safety of women is a huge concern in India and often victim blaming is an ensuing topic of discussion. In another incident which fuels the stigma, Kannada actor Samyukta Hegde was apparently assaulted and abused in a park for working out, while wearing sports bra.
Samyukta revealed that she and her friends were working out in a public park in Bengaluru when they were moral policed by a group of people led by Congress politician Kavitha Reddy.
On Saturday 5th September, Samyukta Hegde uploaded a video where Kavitha Reddy was seen physically attacking a friend of Hegde. She took to Twitter and said “The future of our country reflects on what we do today. We were abused and ridiculed by Kavitha Reddy at Agara Lake. There are witnesses and more video evidence”
Kavitha Reddy, on the other hand, completely denied the allegations of moral policing and abuse. She said that she and her group protested against loud music that was being played by the girls while working which was causing trouble to other consumers at the park. They, apparently also threatened the security guard when he asked the raucous to stop.
She told NDTV, “The women were playing loud music in the park and dancing. When the guard asked them to stop, they abused him. I only wanted them to apologise.”
She added that the whole news was intended to blow up social media and for no other purpose than a ‘cheap publicity mode’.
While people reacted vey harshly to her attacking one of Hegde’s friends, she justified her action by saying that the girls deliberately instigated and manipulated her to react so that their story would earn sympathy and support.
“The minute I took a picture of her, one of the girls called me a bloody old b**** and that’s when I got angry and went to confront her. I was instigated. Why should I be called names?” said Kavitha Reddy. “At no point I commented on her attire”
Samyukta Hegde, told The Times of India, “ Three of us were working out and Kavitha Reddy suddenly came and tried to assault us, saying that our clothes were wrong and we were doing cabaret instead of working out.”
The incident instigated several outbursts on social media. Hegde even pointed out the flaw of police who apparently did nothing to stop the altercation.
“When we were waiting for the police to arrive some people in the park who knew her started supporting her and playing moral police and asking us if it is our culture to wear sportswear. About 10 men with her arrived right before the police did and started threatening us. They threatened to destroy our careers and the police stood there and just watched.”
“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 and sincerely apologise to Samyuktha Hegde and her friends!”,Reddy said.