As the evidence collection in the actress abduction case comes to a close, the public sentiments towards the accused has taken a U-turn. Social media sites and Whatsapp are seen to be flooded with posts praising and supporting actor Dileep who continues to be in police custody. The public rage against the actor is seemed to have lessened and the fans’ association, close associates and friends are busy creating the image of a saviour or lifeguard to be bestowed upon the accused actor.
Those who condemn the pro-Dileep sentiments allege a strong PR agency is actively working behind these posts including videos, write-ups and trolls. It has also been alleged that a huge number of Facebook pages and fake accounts have mushroomed in the last two days to generate and spread posts which support Dileep. Experts and observers have not declined the possibility of the interference of PR agencies as the accused is highly influential in the social, political and business circles of the State.
Stories of compassion and philanthropy centering the accused actor have even started appearing in prominent dailies. Two such stories appeared on the online news portal of ‘Manorama’ on Friday. Videos which present the actor’s friends or close associates expressing fondly and firmly for the actor and trolls supporting Dileep have also appeared on popular pages such as ‘Changathikkoottam’ and ‘Troll Malayalam’.
Dileep’s friends from the political and cultural circles are also on the front row in their fight against the arrest which shook the state. The Fans Association Committee in a Facebook post had maintained that they would stand firm with the actor in any critical situation.
Dileep’s friends from the film industry including film producer Fareed Khan and cinematographer Shyju Guruvayoor have openly expressed their support for the actor through their FB accounts. While Fareed became emotional on his cancer-affected son’s admiration for Dileep, Shyju reminded the public about the actor’s close relatives who are facing a traumatic situation following the former’s arrest.
Actor Siddique’s concerns regarding the arrest and director Lal Jose’ post supporting the actor are also widely shared among the masses. Lal Jose in an FB post had said that Dileep had been a close friend for the past 26 years and he strongly believed that Dileep would never engage in such a heinous crime. Siddique noted that those who point their fingers against the actor do not show the same brevity to utter a single word against Boby Chemmannur, a business giant, who has also been accused by a woman with similar or more heinous sexual harassment. The late actor Cochin Haneefa’s wife, last day, revealed that Dileep had always been like a protective brother. PC George, MLA and former Chief Whip as well as his son, Shone George had also openly come out in support of Dileep.
Another opinion is that the trolls which appear to be supportive to the accused is a result of media rooms’ lack of maturity in dealing with sensitive issues. These trolls may have originated from the general public who follow news on a regular basis. Trolls which make fun of some noted news presenters have been found aplenty in the last two days.
Meanwhile, the victim in a statement maintained that she had never mentioned Dileep’s name at any stage of the investigation. Experts opine that this statement could be a result of the pressure that would have been exerted on her by the people or agencies who bat for the accused. She has also made it clear that she had never engaged in a real estate business with the actor.
Actor Asif Ali, who had said the previous day that he would not share the silver screen with the accused actor ever again in future, has also loosened his stand succumbing to the pressure from the support groups of the actor. His FB post received a multitude of comments favouring Dileep.
Apart from the posts which are being shared through social media sites and Whatsapp, banners and flex boards have been set up at various corners of the state in the name of fans’ association and other well-wishers.
While the public and the media immerse in the business of narration and counter narration, legal experts fear the sentiments, for or against the accused, will only help to create a public opinion. This, will ultimately influence the probe and the judgment, they observe.