Owaisi slams arrest of Hyderabad movie club members over Ram ke Naam screening

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi slammed Telangana Police for arresting people who screened the film ‘Ram ke Naam’ on the Babri Masjid demolition and asked, “How is screening an award-winning documentary a crime?”
Asaduddin Owaisi
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AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi has slammed Telangana Police for arresting three persons for screening Ram ke Naam – Anand Patwardhan’s documentary on the Babri Masjid demolition – at a cafe in Sainikpuri, Hyderabad. The Hyderabad MP asked Rachakonda Police Commissioner to explain why the screening of the documentary Ram ke Naam was stopped midway and three people were arrested.

“How is screening an award-winning documentary a crime? If it is, then the Government of India & Filmfare should also be jailed for awarding the movie. Please let us know if we need a pre-screening certificate from the police before watching a movie,” asked Owaisi. His comment on ‘X’ came after police stopped the screening of the documentary at a restaurant at Sainikpuri and registered a case against the organisers, a group called ‘Hyderabad Cinephiles’.

The documentary by Anand Patwardhan is about the events surrounding the demolition of the Babri mosque at Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.

The arrest was made following a complaint by Ruthvik Pandrangi, a member of the Vishva Hindu Parishad – the organisation which spearheaded the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. In his complaint, Ruthvik alleged that screening the documentary was “illegal.” He claimed that the movie screening was done deliberately to “create a communal issue” ahead of the Ram Mandir consecration on Monday, January 22. 

Police reached the place and stopped the screening. A case was registered at Neredmet Police Station under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 290 (public nuisance) and 295A (outraging religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) read with 34. Police said the screening was organised without permission and took up investigation.

A statement from Hyderabad Cinephiles said that around 10 people disrupted the screening midway, pointing their fingers at the organisers and participants while yelling, stating that it's illegal to screen the film and that their religious sentiments were hurt. “They tried to pull and tear the screen. They abused the organisers and used misogynist slurs and termed the organisers as anti-Hindu,” the organisers said. 

“This incident is yet another instance of increasing curb on the freedom of expression in the country and attacks against the democratic rights of citizens. Telangana is a state ruled by the Congress party and this incident is quite telling of their claims of secularism and democracy as the Hyderabad police, instead of acting against the unlawful disruption by the right-wing people and ensuring that the screening goes on, clearly acted in an unconstitutional manner at the behest of the right-wing goons,” the statement said. 

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