THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 24 NOVEMBER, 2020
FIR Filed, #BoycottNetflix Trends as Users Object to Kissing Scenes in ‘A Suitable Boy’
Accusations of ‘love jihad’
NEW DELHI: An outcry on Twitter led to FIRs being filed in Madhya Pradesh against Netflix executives as users objected to a kissing scene in Mira Nair’s on-screen adaptation of ‘A Suitable Boy.’
MP Home Minister Narottam Mishra confirmed the news saying, “On the basis of a complaint filed by Gaurav Tiwari, an FIR is being registered under section 295 (A) (malicious acts to outrage and insulting the religious feelings and beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in Rewa against Netflix officials — Monika Shergill and Ambika Khurana.”
Monika Shergill is Vice President of Content at Netflix, and Ambika Khurana is the Director of Public Policies at Netflix.
.#Netflix पर प्रसारित वेब सीरीज "A Suitable Boy" के आपत्तिजनक दृश्यों से धर्म विशेष की भावनाएं आहत होने का कानूनी परीक्षण करने के निर्देश गृह एवं विधि विभाग के अधिकारियों को दिए थे। परीक्षण में भावनाएं आहत होने का आरोप सही पाया गया है।@mohdept @DGP_MP pic.twitter.com/FlJJPwfN07— Dr Narottam Mishra (@drnarottammisra) November 23, 2020
Gurav Tiwari, who filed the FIR, is Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha’s (BJYM) national secretary. Tiwari demanded an apology from the makers of the web-series. He tweeted that the scenes be removed, as they were promoting “love jihad.”
Several users in fact took to social media to accuse Netflix of “promoting ‘Love Jihad’” and objected to the kissing scenes being set in a temple. “@NetflixIndia Promote "Love Jihad" threw webseries "The Suitable Boy". According to the script, a Hindu woman is in love with a Muslim young man, but why was everyone shot in the kissing scene in the temple courtyard???,” one user tweeted.
“Anti-hindu propaganda is run everywhere from cinema theaters to news channels and online digital platforms.,, The government is sleeping blindly instead of taking action...! #BoycottNetflixIndia,” another user tweeted.
“How dare @NetflixIndia showed this disgraceful act?? Is this for what temples are there?? Shameful!! #BoycottNetflixIndia,” read yet another tweet.
The FIRs follow Mishra’s video tweet, where he says, “A Suitable Boy’ was released on an OTT media platform. Kissing scenes were filmed inside a temple with bhajans being sung in the background. I consider it objectionable. I think this hurt feelings… I have directed police to examine the series and determine what action can be taken against the producer and director of this series.”
The controversy follows close on the heels of a similar outcry over a Tanishq jewellery ad depicting a Hindu-Muslim couple. Tanishq pulled the ad after social media users accused it of promoting ‘Love Jihad’ and calling for a boycott of the brand. "We are deeply saddened with the inadvertent stirring of emotions and withdraw this film keeping in mind the hurt sentiments and well being of our employees, partners and store staff," a Tanishq spokesperson said in a statement after the ad was pulled.
The objection to the depiction of interfaith couples on the screen is accompanied by, in the last few weeks, at least five state governments -- Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka and Assam -- expressing their intention to bring in laws to check and prevent marriages between Muslim men and non-Muslim women.
UP Minister Yogi Adityanath was in the news recently, for addressing an election rally on the issue of ‘Love Jihad’ and using the Hindu funeral chant 'Ram Naam Satya Hai' to threaten those who don't respect Hindu daughters and sisters. "We will bring an effective law. It is my warning to those who play with the honour and dignity of sisters and daughters by hiding their real names and identities. If they do not mend their ways, their 'Ram Naam Satya' journey will start," Adityanath had said. The UP cabinet is due to meet today (Tuesday) to pass the ordinance.
The details of the laws proposed in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have emerged in the media, indicating that the BJP governments in these states are seriously considering bringing in a law to monitor, control and prevent interfaith marriages in the country. The law, it seems, will be introduced as the ‘Freedom of Religion Act’, following in the footsteps of Himachal Pradesh, where such a law, under the same name, already exists.
The BJP government in 2019 had passed the ‘Freedom of Religion Act’ in 2019, making it the seventh state in India to have enacted such a legislation, the others being Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
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