The police in Madhya Pradesh’s Rewa district on Monday lodged an first information report naming two people, including the vice president of streaming platform Netflix, for allegedly hurting religious sentiments after Bharatiya Janata Party members and Hindutva activists raised objections to one of the scenes in Mira Nair-directed web series A Suitable Boy.
BJP leader Gaurav Tiwari tweeted a copy of the FIR, thanking Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra for his support in the matter. The FIR was filed against under Section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code against Monika Shergill and Ambika Khurana. Shergill is the vice president of Netflix India, while Khurana is the director of public policy.
On Sunday, Mishra had directed the state police to examine the content of the web series claiming it “hurt religious sentiments”. In a video message posted on his Twitter handle, Mishra claimed that filming a kissing scene in temple premises, with a “bhajan” or a religious song playing in the background was “objectionable”.
“Police officials will examine the content and decide on the actions that can be taken against the producer and director of the film and the OTT [over-the-top] platform,” he tweeted.
On Saturday, Tiwari tweeted the clip where two of the protagonists of the web series can be seen kissing in a temple. “Netflix shot three kissing scenes for A Suitable Boy in the same episode,” Tiwari wrote. “As per the script a Muslim youth is in love with a Hindu woman. But why were all the kissing scenes shot in the temple premises.”
After this, the BJP leader filed a complaint with the Rewa police, asking for an FIR to be registered. He also urged people to uninstall Netflix, following which the hashtag #BoycottNetflix began to trend.
Last week, Mishra said that the state government will soon introduce a law against “love jihad”, with a jail term of five years. “Love jihad” is a term frequently used by Hindutva organisations to allege a conspiracy by Muslim men to marry women from other religions solely to convert them to Islam.
A number of other BJP-ruled states have also announced their intentions to introduce similar legislations. However, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had on February 4 told the Lok Sabha that there was no such thing as “love jihad” defined under the current laws in the country.
Earlier this month, the Centre issued a government order to bring online news platforms and content providers under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. With this, over-the-top or OTT platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar and Amazon’s Prime Video are under the purview of the I&B Ministry.