‘Hate propaganda’: JNU students protest against makers of ‘Bastar: The Naxal Story’

February 09, 2024 04:17 am | Updated 04:17 am IST - New Delhi

A section of students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Thursday protested against the teaser of upcoming film Bastar: The Naxal Story, demanding “immediate action” against the director and actors of the movie.

The film, directed by Sudipto Sen — known for his previous controversial production, The Kerala Story — showed in its teaser a scene wherein actor Adah Sharma, who plays a police officer, calls for the public execution of ‘left-leaning pseudo intellectuals” of big cities who “side with Naxals”. In the scene, she names JNU as a place where students allegedly celebrated the killing of CRPF officers by Naxals in Bastar, Chhattisgarh.

The students, who burnt posters of the film as part of their protest, slammed the director for “spreading dangerous propaganda and inciting violence.”

“We demand immediate action against Sudipto Sen, Adah Sharma, and Vipul Amrutlal Shah for the open call for genocide of JNU students. Such a step to mislead people is a criminal act. All legal steps will be taken and we appeal to our alumni and V-C to take urgent action,” said JNU Students Union president Aishe Ghosh in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

Meanwhile, the Students Federation of India (SFI) accused the filmmakers of “weaponising cinema for right-wing gain”, and said the film was a “dangerous manifestation of hate-mongering and communal propaganda aimed at demonising institutions like JNU, its students and its progressive ideologies.”

The SFI also questioned the timing of the film, which is scheduled for release on March 15, adding that it was concerning how it coincided with the upcoming general elections. “By peddling falsehoods and perpetuating stereotypes, the filmmakers contribute to a climate of fear and distrust, undermining the very foundations of a pluralistic society,” the statement read.

Mr. Sen, while sharing the film’s teaser on X, said: “I was born just 50 km away from where it started. In the next 50 years, I saw the evolution and transformation of this movement as an extension of my life. Here is my soliloquy of 50 years.”

The Hindu reached out to the producer of the film and the JNU administration for a comment on the JNU students’ protest. Neither offered a reaction.

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