India which boasts of unity in diversity has showcased an alarming trend recently, a rise in religious intolerance. The matters of religion, are indeed sensitive, however, where to draw the link is an important question.
The Tandav Controversy is well known to all. The show which is aired on the online streaming platform Amazon Prime Video hurt the sentiments of a particular religion and degraded the stature of police. The said case with mention to an anticipatory bail which was filed by Aparna Purohit, the commercial head of Amazon Prime Video. For the said offence, she was charged under Sections 66, 66F and 67 IT Act, 2008, apart from Sections 153-A, 295 505(1)(b), 505(2), 469 of IPC which are charges of cyber-terrorism. Public mischief, promotion of enmity among groups, and promotion of hatred.
The main contentions raised were with respect to the degrading manner the Uttar Pradesh police force was portrayed. Communal sentiments may be incited due to the portrayal of Gods in a bad light. The show even goes on to degrade the Prime Minister and his office while also throwing shade on the state administration.
The Court while denying, Purohit anticipatory bail stated that
“such people make the revered figures of the religion of majority community source of earning money in a most brazen manner taking benefit of the liberal and tolerant tradition of the country.”
The Court further contemplating on the issue of the name Tandav stated was
“offensive to the majority of the people of this country since this word is associated with a particular act assigned to Lord Shiva who is considered to be creator, conservator and destroyer of mankind altogether.”
The series was further scrutinised for certain scenes as provoking hate when it was noted by the Court that
“The advice of Sage Narad to Lord Shiva to make some inflammatory tweet on Twitter like all the students of the campus becoming traitors and raising slogans of freedom clearly alludes to the incidents which took place in Jawaharlal Nehru University and therefore, it can be considered to be a message of hate advanced through the movie.”
The order also contended that
“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 an unsafe place to live.”
Thee single judge bench of Justice Sidharth also noted other instances wherein religious sentiments were hurt, including the Munawar Faruqui incident,
“Efforts have been made to subvert the image of historical and mythological personalities (Padmavati). Names and icons of faith of majority community have been used to earn money (Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram Leela).”
The Court noted that this can have problems in terms of public order in India.
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