‘Begum Jaan’ banned after rightist groups cry ‘Love Jihad’

Guwahati: Begum Jaan, an Assamese television serial celebrating syncretic culture, which is accused of portraying ‘love jihad’ has been banned for 60 days.

A ‘socio-cultural’ organisation named United Trust of Assam filed a writ petition at the Gauhati high court some weeks ago.

As reported by The Wire, the Commissioner of Police, Guwahati on August 25 informed the high court that “he has prohibited the telecast of the serial under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation Act) for a period of 60 days”. The police commissioner also served a show-cause notice to the channel.

Meanwhile, serial’s leading actress Pretty Kkonganafiled an FIR at the Dispur police station in the city saying that she received rape, death and acid attack threats on social media platforms and otherwise.

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The production house that made Begum Jaan is preparing to challenge the ban legally. Sanjive Narain, the proprietor of AM Televisions, told that the serial was banned without any information provided to them. He maintained that the channel which telecasts Begum Jaan is not cable television but a regional satellite channel.

Saying that this could be the first time in India that a television serial has been banned, Narain claimed that there is no objectionable content in Begum Jaan. He felt it was an attack on freedom of expression. He further asserted that the serial is about humanity, and there is nothing about ‘love jihad’. ‘When there is no love between the two lead characters, how can there be any love jihad?’ he exclaimed. Already 60-70 episodes of Begum Jaan have been aired.

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Hindu right-wing groups like the Hindu Jagran Minch, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti and others protested against Begum Jaan in July, in different parts of the state. Asking online users to boycott the serial, online petitions have been started against the serial, stating that it gives impetus to love jihad.

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