Theatre personality Vinay Varma was arrested by the Narayanaguda police on Tuesday for outraging the modesty of a woman. Varma, who runs the theatre group ‘Sutradhar,’ stands accused of asking his students to strip as part of an acting workshop. He was remanded to judicial custody but was let out on bail later on Tuesday.
Vinay Verma was accused by a 21-year-old woman of asking them to ‘remove their clothes or get out’ as part of an acting workshop.
On April 15, the woman who had enrolled in the acting workshop approached the Telangana police’s SHE team, a team working for protection and safety of women, and filed a complaint. 9 students, 7 men and 2 women, who were part of the workshop were asked to strip naked, she said in her complaint.
After the woman’s complaint, the case was subsequently transferred to Narayanaguda police station. Based on the complaint, the police filed a case under section 509 of IPC (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman). Two more charges of sexual harassment and criminal intimidation, under 354 A and 506 of IPC, were added later.
The woman had told TNM earlier, “After we finished doing meditation, he walked in, closed the windows and doors, and asked us to remove our clothes. We were looking at each other, then he shouted, ‘remove your clothes or leave the class’. Then immediately, the boys obeyed him and removed their clothes. He asked them to remove their undergarments as well.”
Responding to the allegations, Vinay had justified his actions claiming that the naked act was part of the acting exercise. “This is part of the acting exercise where we mould them (students) and test if they’re able to do it. The students who can’t do it are told to stand outside the class,” he had said earlier to TNM.
Admitting that these things weren’t disclosed to students at the time of joining, he had said, “We don’t tell what all training they’ll be going through. We never forced them. We are willing to reimburse the fee of those who can’t do it (remove clothes).”
Vinay was arrested after the woman’s family protested outside the police station. Vinay Varma has also acted in a couple of Telugu films and has been running the theatre group in Hyderabad for almost two decades.