PK debate: Why are PM Modi or Rajnath Singh silent over protests

Political parties across the spectrum have voiced strong protest and concern on government’s inaction against the radical groups. Here's what stops PM Modi from intervening in protests against PK.

Debobrat Ghose December 31, 2014 10:28:30 IST
PK debate: Why are PM Modi or Rajnath Singh silent over protests

New Delhi: Why is the government silent on the acts of vandalism of the Right wing radical groups? These groups have taken their protest against the Aamir Khan-starer PK too far. Over the last three days they have been tearing posters of the movie and vandalising theatres screening it. While this is the latest in a trend visible over the last few months, the worrisome part is they are getting bolder and bolder by the day. They have been acting with impunity, secure in the knowledge that the government won’t act against them. How long will this be allowed to go on?

The silence of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, obviously, is not helping the matter. It is, in fact, encouraging them to take hooliganism a notch higher.

PK debate Why are PM Modi or Rajnath Singh silent over protests

Activists from Shiv Sena, Sher-e-Punjab, burn a poster against the film 'PK' outside a cinema in Amritsar. AFP

"Neither the government nor the prime minister will take any action against such groups. Senior BJP leader LK Advani’s endorsement of the movie notwithstanding, if these RSS-backed radical elements want a ban on the film and create ruckus, one can’t expect the prime minister to act against them. It is a well-planned strategy of the NDA government to encourage such acts of communalism. It wants the public attention diverted from real issues so that it can get through with ordinances on various bills," said Badal Saroj, central committee member, Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Political parties across the spectrum have voiced strong protest and concern on government’s inaction against the radical groups that are attempting to challenge the freedom of creative expression.

"It’s similar to what happened in Germany during Adolf Hitler's time. One can't expect Modi to take any action against such elements, because he’s himself the initiator. It's an extension of the Gujarat model; what he did as Gujarat chief minister, he’s doing now as the PM. Even, this government is against encouraging scientific temper, forget the creative faculty,” remarked KC Tyagi, Rajya Sabha member and spokesperson of Janata Dal (U).

Added Adarsh Shastri, Aam Aadmi Party leader, "The PM is expected to rise above party politics and act as a statesman to keep the secular fabric of the nation intact. I don't know what's the compulsion of the government or the PM to not act against this vandalism. Either the PM doesn’t want to or has been tied down by his party."

The sudden turn of events has appeared to be a matter of great concern for the film and theatre fraternity.

Prominent theatre personality and cultural activist, MK Raina, observed: “Whether the government is that of the Congress or the BJP, nothing changes. The political hoodlums continue with their destructive activities. It happened many a time in the past. There’s no change in attitude even with the present government.”

“Despite, the film being cleared by the Censor Board, I don’t know why the government is silent on the protest by certain groups. It means Censor Board has lost its authority. I’m worried over the turn of events. It seems attempts are afoot to bring an end to institutional autonomy,” added Raina, a former Censor Board member, who also worked with Aamir Khan in Taare Zameen Par.

Remarked theatre artist and director Mahmood Farooqui, who specializes in Urdu oral storytelling Dastangoi, “I don’t know what’s the compulsion of the PM, but he should have taken action. Even, in Parliament, he was quite guarded in his statement on the comment of Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti’s comment ‘Ramzadon and Haramzadon’. However, the protestors won’t matter much as the film has already garnered Rs 400 crore.”

The fringe elements have been busy in activities like burning effigy of actor Aamir Khan and taking out protest marches across the country - in Bhopal, Jammu, Ahmedabad, Meerut, Lucknow, Dehradun, Ranchi, etc alleging that the “film has made fun of Hindu religious sentiments”.

“While, the government talks of development, it ought to be careful about these kinds of elements, who can be a damaging factor. These overtly hyper-enthusiastic elements undertake such acts of muscle-flexing to appease their political masters, so that in lieu they can earn benefits like posts in the party, or a corporator’s ticket etc. I don’t know about government’s compulsion, but unless the PM reins in such elements, it could downsize BJP like the Congress at present,” pointed out Deepu Das, director of Bhopal-based theatre group Nandinik.

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