Assamese TV serial banned for 2 months

The authorities in Assam have temporarily banned an Assamese TV serial for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.

Guwahati Police Commissioner Munna Prasad Gupta said an Assamese entertainment channel was on August 24 ordered to keep Begum Jaan off the air for two months.

The order under the Cable Television Network (Regulations) Act, 1995 was served following a recommendation by a 10-member monitoring committee the local administration had formed more than a week ago to look into a series of complaints.

Mr. Gupta said the police were also investigating a complaint lodged by Preety Kongkana, who plays the lead role of Janmoni in the serial. She said she received rape threats and was trolled and bullied on social media platforms after rumours spread that the serial showed Janmoni eloping with a Muslim man.

“The story is about a Hindu girl in trouble being helped by the Muslim man. The serial is about humanity being above faith and there is no communal angle,” she said.

But Right-wing groups, including the Hindu Jagran Manch, and several individuals, lodged complaints with the police demanding a ban against the serial, which they claimed promoted inter-faith relationships at the expense of Hindu and Assamese cultures.

An organisation called the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti had also launched an online campaign seeking a ban on the broadcast of the serial.

“The committee formed by the district administration deliberated on these complaints. The ban order was issued as the committee had apprehended breach of peace and tranquillity,” the Police Commissioner told The Hindu on Friday.

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