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Tandav case: Allahabad HC rejects anticipatory bail plea of Amazon staffer

An activst takes part in a protest against the Amazon web series ‘Tandav’, in Mumbai.   | Photo Credit: AFP

The Allahabad High Court on Thursday refused to grant anticipatory bail to Aparna Purohit, the commercial head of Amazon Head of Indian Originals, in the ongoing investigation in the cases lodged against the makers of web series Tandav.

While rejecting her plea, the court stated that while western filmmakers had refrained from ridiculing Lord Jesus or the Prophet, Hindi filmmakers have done this repeatedly and are still doing this most unabashedly with the Hindu gods and godesses.

The court also referred to the recent case of comedian Munnawar Faruqui.

“Things are worsening as is evident from the fact that an obscure stand-up comedian, Munawar Faruqui, from Gujarat made comments on Hindu god and godesses in a new year show at Indore and gained undue publicity on being arrested in a case. This shows that from films this trend has passed to comedy shows,” Justice Siddharth said.

“Such people make the revered figures of religion of majority community source of earning money in most brazen manner taking benefit of the liberal and tolerant tradition of country,” the court said.

This court further noted that a number of films have been produced which have used the name of Hindu gods and goddesses and shown them in disrespectful manner.

“Not only this, efforts have been made to subvert the image of historical and mythological personalities... Names and icons of faith of majority community have been used to earn money... This tendency on the part of the Hindi film industry is growing and if not curbed in time, it may have disastrous consequences for the Indian social, religious and communal order,” the court said.

The anticipatory bail application was filed by Ms. Purohit in a case lodged under Sections- 153(A)(1)(b), 295-A, 505(1)(b), 505(2) I.P.C., Section 66 and 67 of the Information Technology Act and Section 3(1)(r) of S.C./S.T. Act, at police station-Rabupura, Greater Noida, District Gautam Buddh Nagar.

The web series is accused of depicting Hindu gods and goddesses in a bad light with the intention of inciting communal sentiments, affecting the image of the police of Uttar Pradesh, depicting the post of Prime Minister in a manner which will adversely affect the democratic system of the country and deliberately making caste and community utterances to affect public peace.

Senior Counsel for the applicant submitted that the web series in dispute was a work of fiction and all the places, events, characters and incidents were an imagination of the author.

The cast and crew of the web series had also issued an unconditional apology.

The court said, “There appears to be a design behind such acts on the part of the people who just give a disclaimer in all the films and depict things in the movies which are really religiously, socially and communally offensive in nature.”

“The young generation of the country, which is not much aware of the social and cultural heritage of this country, gradually starts believing what is shown in the movies by the people like the accused persons in the present movie in dispute and thereby, it destroys the basic concept of the survival of this country having tremendous diversity of all kinds as a united nation,” the court observed in the 20-page order.

The court said that Ms. Purohit was granted interim protection from arrest by a co-ordinate bench on February 11 and had filed another anticipatory bail application but noted that “she was not co-operating with the investigation.”

On February 22, the court directed her to appear before the investigating officer the following day. “This conduct of the applicant shows that she has scant respect for the law of the land and her conduct further disentitles her to any relief from this Court, since co-operation with investigation is a necessary condition for grant of anticipatory bail. This anticipatory bail application is accordingly, rejected,” the court said.

The judge also took judicial notice that whenever such crimes are committed by some citizens of the country, it is made the subject matter of demonstration and public protest, “the forces inimical to the interest of this country become active and they make it an issue and raise it before different national and international forums alleging that the Indian citizens have become intolerant and “India” has become unsafe place to live.”

“Even in the liberal democracies of the West, it becomes a topic of debate and the Indian diplomacy has to face tough time protecting the interest of the country and assuring the international community that the protests made against such acts are stray and genuine and it is not mark of any intolerance in the country as a whole,” Justice Siddharth noted.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 3:36:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/tandav-case-allahabad-hc-rejects-anticipatory-bail-plea-of-amazon-staffer/article33935505.ece

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