Kannada actor Ragini alleges gender bias in sandalwood drugs case

Women, especially those who are successful, are an easy target, says the actor-activist

She says she should not single out anyone as they tried their best to target her by running their own hashtag campaigns. File Photo

Kannada activist-actor Ragini Dwivedi, out on bail in the ‘sandalwood drugs’ case since January this year, has alleged gender bias for her travails.

“Women are, in general, an easy target in our society. Not only in my case, it happens with all women and it gets even more amplified when a woman happens to be a successful woman… it’s even worse,” she said after participating in a blood donation and vaccination camp for the transgender community on June 17.

Ragini spent nearly 150 days in jail after she was arrested on September 4, 2020. She was in Bengaluru Central Crime Branch police (CCB) custody until September 14 and then sent to judicial custody on September 15.

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Also read: Police conduct hair follicle test on Sandalwood drugs racket accused

She is accused of being number two in the Cottonpet drugs case, which is now infamously known to be Sandalwood drugs case, drawing reference to the film industry. The actress was held for her alleged association with an international drug peddling racket that revolved around supplying psychedelic drugs to customers at major events and rave parties.

She said she should not single out anyone as they tried their best to target her by running their own hashtag campaigns. “In any case when I don’t know them, why should I bother about what they write or speak about me?” she asked.

Also read: A lesson or two for Sandalwood to expunge itself of drug racket row   

Following the Narcotics Control Bureau’s seizure of drugs in August 2020, Kannada film director Indrajit Lankesh claimed to have information on several film personalities who frequently used drugs at parties.

On August 31, the Central Crime Branch police questioned him for almost five hours and urged him to share details to support the police in its fight against the drug menace. Lankesh claimed he had shared 15 names from the industry as well as some supporting documents.

Based on these inputs, on September 4, 2020, Ragini was taken from her flat in Yelahanka after she had failed to appear before the CCB. Another actress, Sanjjanaa Galrani, was also arrested on September 5, 2020.

Ragini has acted in a bilingual film ‘Nimirndhu Nil’ in Tamil language and Janda Pai Kapiraju’ in Telugu, her first film in Telugu. Her Ragini IPS’ marked a break from glamorous characters that she had a reputation for portraying. It brought her second Filmfare Award for Best Actress nomination.

She also endorsed Nandini Milk which is a product of Karnataka Milk Federation. After actress Khusbhu, Ragini is the only Indian actress to have a fan club named after her.

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