Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra Sunday directed police officials to examine the content of Mira Nair’s Netflix show “A Suitable Boy” after a scene from the miniseries kicked up a social media storm for purportedly “hurting religious sentiments”.
In a tweet, Mishra said, “A film titled ‘A Suitable Boy’ has been released on an OTT platform. It depicts extremely objectionable scenes that hurt the feelings of a particular religion. I have directed police officials to look into it.”
Mishra, a cabinet minister in the Shivraj Singh Chauhan government, has also asked officials to inform whether legal action can be taken against the producer and director of the show for “hurting religious sentiments”.
The Home Minister’s statement comes a day after a youth BJP leader, Gaurav Tiwari, submitted a written complaint to Rewa SP Rakesh Kumar Singh, demanding that an FIR be registered. The police is yet to take action. Tiwari objected to a scene that shows two characters (played by Tanya Maniktala and Kabir Durrani ), one Hindu and Muslim, kissing in temple premises. The BJP leader also urged people on twitter to uninstall Netflix from their phone, following which #BoycottNetflix began to trend on Twitter.
Directed by Mira Nair, A Suitable Boy is a miniseries adaptation of Vikram Seth’s eponymous hefty novel of the same name and tells a story of four families which is set a few years after Indian Independence and the Partition.
BJP spokesperson Gaurav Goel, without naming A Suitable Boy, said if any OTT platform was “deliberately insulting” Hindu Gods and Goddess, one should file a complaint with the police or local court under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code. “The law will take care of such offenders,” he tweeted.
The latest controversy comes amidst the move by BJP-ruled states to bring a law to check “love jihad”. Till now, the states of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have expressed concerns over the rising number of cases of “love jihad” and announced their plans to introduce bills.
In Madhya Pradesh, the Bill, to be called Dharma Swatantrya (Freedom of Religion) Bill, 2020, proposes five years of rigorous imprisonment for “luring a person through fraud and forcing marriage by religious conversion”. It also aims to make the offence non-bailable.
However, the move to bring any such bill was condemned by the Opposition, who asserted that marriage was a matter of personal liberty and that bringing a law to curb would be “unconstitutional”.