Two days after Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairperson Leela Samson resigned citing “interference and coercion” by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry, another 12 members of the Board followed her suggestion of quitting “en masse” and tendered their resignations on Saturday.
CBFC members including Ira Bhaskar, M.K. Raina, Pankaj Sharma, T.G. Thyagarajan, Shaji Karun, Anjum Rajabali, Shubra Gupta, Nikhil Alva, Rajeev Masand, Mamang Dai, K.C Sekhar Babu and L.K. Prabhu tendered their resignations on Saturday in a joint email to I&B Minister of State Rajyavardhan Rathore.
“The events that led to the chairperson Ms. Leela Samson resigning from her position are merely the proverbial last straw...we have been asking for some critical changes, which are imperative if the functioning of the CBFC has to be reformed. However, in spite of sending numerous recommendations and appeals, and having several meetings with the Secretaries and senior officials of the Ministry, and even one with an earlier Minister, not a single positive step has been taken by the Ministry,” the joint resignation letter said.
Gauging from this letter and from Ms. Samson's resignation email, board members — all of them including Ms. Samson being on an extended tenure since May last year — were unhappy with alleged interference by the I&B Ministry.
However, the wave of resignations over the last two days was apparently triggered with the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal clearing Dera Saccha Sauda chief's film “Messenger of God”, which the CBFC had refused to pass.
“I hope all of you will now resign en masse. We have been made a mockery of by the powers of the Min of I&B over the film ‘Messenger of God’. If we have any self dignity we would not be party to what has happened. It is shameful,” Ms. Samson had written in her email to board members on Thursday morning.