A series of screenings to express solidarity with the celebrated documentary filmmakers Rahul Roy and Saba Dewan will be held online from Thursday. Roy and Dewan are among the activists and cultural figures named in the Delhi Police chargesheet relating to the communal riots in the capital in February.
The police claim that the violence was a reaction to widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the planned National Register of Citizens. Many believe these initiatives discriminate against Muslims.
In January, following attacks on students of Jamia Millia Islamia university, Roy and Dewan formed a WhatsApp to provide support to protestors. The Delhi Police claim, on flimsy grounds, that the members of the Whatsapp group conspired to spark the February violence.
As Scroll.in has reported: “The Delhi Police in several chargesheets have claimed that the violence was part of a well-planned conspiracy to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. In an affidavit filed in the Delhi High Court on July 13, the Delhi Police said that it has registered 751 cases relating to the violence and filed chargesheets in 200 of them. In the affidavit, the police went a step further and claimed that the people protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act had secessionist motives and were using ‘the façade of civil disobedience’ to destabilise the government.”
Over the months, several members of the Delhi Protest Support Group WhatsApp forum have been interrogated by the police. As Scroll.in reported in a series titled The Silent Crackdown, some people questioned by the police allege they were abused, threatened, coerced into giving false statements.
Roy and Dewan are among India’s most highly regarded documentary filmmakers. The couple has individually produced piercing examinations on living conditions in Delhi, female sexuality and labour struggles since the 1990s. Roy’s films include Majma (2001), Sundar Nagari (2003) and The Factory (2015). Dewan’s research into her triptych on female performers, Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi (2006), Naach (2008) and The Other Song (2009), led to the book Tawaifnama in 2019.
The organisers of the solidarity event are Marupakkam, Vikalp @ Prithvi (Mumbai), Pedestrian Pictures (Bangalore), Cinema of Resistance (Ghaziabad) and People’s Film Collective (Kolkata). Links to the documentaries will be available for a limited period.
Roy’s When Four Friends Meet will be streamed on October 22 at 6 am for 48 hours. Dewan’s Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi will similarly be available for 48 hours from October 28 from 6 am.
Vikalp@Prithvi will show Roy’s Sundar Nagari on October 23 at noon. The link http://bit.ly/thecitybeautiful will be active until the midnight of October 25.
Information on further screenings will be posted on the Facebook page In Solidarity: A Festival of Films by Saba Dewan and Rahul Roy.