‘Paatal Lok’, a web series streaming on Amazon Prime Video, has been generating a lot of buzz online, with various complaints being registered against the makers for allegedly maligning few communities.
G.S. Dhillion, an advocate practicing in the Punjab Haryana High Court has filed a complaint before the Punjab police against OTT platform Amazon Prime Video and the Producers of the web series ‘Paatal Lok’ for allegedly hurting religious feelings and sentiments of the Sikh community.
The complaint filed at S A S Nagar District police station in Punjab has alleged that the 3rd episode of the said web series, titled ‘A History of Violence’, has been made with an intention to create communal disharmony as the makers purposely and maliciously highlighted caste-based clashes in the specified episode, showing two castes in a bad light. He further alleged that the episode which depicts to be set in a Punjab village, also uses a caste portraying slur, which creates an atmosphere of enmity between two castes in the State.
“In episode No.3 of the above-named internet series sub-named as ‘A History of Violence’, the accused have used a caste-based slur namely ‘MANJAAR’ again and again for a particular caste and shown hate between the other caste namely ‘Jatt Sikh’,” stated the complainant while referring that such portrayal is both criminal and defamatory.
Further narrating sequences from the episode, the complainant accused the makers of the web series of portraying Sikhs as oppressors of the society, particularly women. Also, citing particular scenes from the episode, the complainant stated that “In the said third episode starting from 6:00 minutes up to 18:00 minutes the accused have shown the members of Sikh community repeatedly referring to a boy as ‘MANJAAR’ which is derogatory and criminal. The boy from the said community is shown to have brutally murdered three boys from the other community with a knife. The accused have glorified caste and religion-based hatred and violence.”
“It is pertinent to mention here that the Sikh community has a history of protecting the feeble and incapable people, especially women from the times of Ahmed Shah Abdali and Nadir Shah. This portrayal of Sikhs as predators has caused immense unrest in the Sikh community and badly hurt the religious feelings of the Sikhs. The accused have also acted in a malicious manner to promote enmity between two peacefully co-existing castes of Punjab belonging to the same Sikh religion by calling members of one caste ‘MANJAAR’ and creating hatred for the other community. This could lead to caste-based clashes and unrest in Punjab and weaken the brotherhood and communal harmony in the state,” stated the complainant.
Subsequently, the complainant sought to register an FIR and take strict action under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention Of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and Information And Technology Act against the production company, Clean Slate Films Pvt. Ltd, along with its directors, including well-known Bollywood actress Ms. Anushka Sharma.
Meanwhile, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, SAD National Spokesman and President of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management committee shared his views on Twitter and stated that the community is known to help humanity and that Sikhs were ready to sacrifice their lives for anyone being oppressed and never turn a blind eye to it, as shown in the show. He wrote ‘Shame on Anushka Sharma,’ one of the producers of the series. While warning the Amazon Prime to take legal action if they do not pull down the show, he also urged the Information & Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar to take action against all online channels that were ‘maligning Sikhs and other communities.’
On the other hand, last week a Gorkha community group – All Arunachal Pradesh Gorkha Youth Association filed a complaint with National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against Anushka Sharma for allegedly using ‘insulting, demeaning and derogatory’ language for a Nepali-speaking woman in the second episode of the web series. The complaint quoted Bharatiya Gorkha Yuva Parisangh president Nanda Kirati Dewan stating, “Such stereotyping not only maligns as a whole normalizes racism a standard practice for the people. It sets a distorted image among people regarding a certain community, the brunt of which, the people living there have to face.”
In yet another complaints against the web series, Viren Sri Gurung, a member of the Lawyers Guild sent a legal notice to Anushka Sharma for an alleged casteist slur on the show, citing that the word is insulting towards the Nepali community. “There is a clip wherein during an interrogation a lady police officer uses a casteist slur on a Nepali character. There wouldn’t have been any problem had only ‘Nepali’ been used. But the word that follows it is unacceptable. Since Anushka Sharma is one of the producers of the show, we have served her a notice”, Gurung said while adding that he will next take the matter up with Amazon.
On the other hand, Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Nandkishor Gurjar from Uttar Pradesh’s Loni town has on Sunday filed a complaint against actor-producer Anushka Sharma for using his photo without his permission in the web series ‘Paatal Lok’. He demanded that a case be filed against Sharma under the National Security Act for causing communal disharmony, accusing Anushka Sharma of unauthorized use of his image and showing Sanatan Dharma’s castes in a negative light.
As per sources, Gurjar’s photo was used in a scene where Balkrishna Bajpayee who plays a negative character on the show is shown inaugurating a national highway. The original photo was morphed for the web series, however, Gurjar’s face is visible in it. The original photo was clicked on 30th March 2018, when Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath inaugurated a six-lane road from Ghaziabad’s UP Gate to Karheda. Gurjar is seen standing near the chief minister. He further claimed that the series tried to malign BJP’s image, and created a terror-free image of Pakistan, which was an insult to India. He alleged that the series showed castes in Sanatan Dharma and different Hindu agencies in a negative light, and thus is “anti-national”.