Friday, August 12, 2011

Tribals demand ban on Aarakshan

Objecting to screening of Parkash Jha’s movie “Aarkshan” in different theaters of Jammu and Kashmir, the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation- main organisation of Scheduled Tribes, Gujjars and other marginalized groups today demanded immediate ban on showing film in the state.

“A team of our organisation who viewed the film today has decided to oppose the screening of controversial movie in sensitive state like J&K” said Dr. Javaid Rahi, Secretary of Tribal Foundation as some continents of movie 'hurt our souls, hearts and minds'.

In a statement issued to the press, Dr Rahi said that concept of reservation has not been properly projected in the film.
He further said that reservation is neither a charity nor an aid to weaker sections of societies.

“The concept of film was based on proportion of total population of a suppressed community fall under a particular category whereby a percentage of posts are reserved in admission, employment, promotion, Assem-blies and Parliament,” said Dr Rahi.
He further added that objective of the movie is to mitigate backwardness of the socially and educationally backward communities including Scheduled Castes and Tribes who do not have adequate representation in these services and institutions but this part is missing in the film.

ST/SC/OBC constitutes a substantial chunk of J&K’s population so government should respect our sentiments and ban screening of Aarakshan in the state.

He said since three Indian states have banned a new film on the controversial issue of reservation/ quotas for low-caste people, J&K Government should take action on priority.

The northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, and Andhra Pradesh banned the film due to fears it may cause law and order problems.

"Tribal Foundation demanded immediate ban as this is in public interest, taking into account certain objectionable dialogues and scenes that are against Dalits and suppressed classes," he said.
Meanwhile, filmmaker Prakash Jha on Friday moved the Supreme Court seeking its direction to lift the ban on Aarakshan.
Aarakshan is the film that explores caste-based quota system for the socially backward classes, in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh, after he was forced to drop some scenes deemed offensive to certain caste groups to ensure the film's smooth release elsewhere in the country.

The Censor Board with a U /A certificate cleared Aarakshan, but it ran into trouble soon after Jha released the film's first trailer.

It triggered off angry protests by caste groups apprehensive the film will portray them in a negative light because of certain scenes and dialogue in the controversial take on affirmative action.

The film stars Amitabh Bachchan as an idealistic schoolteacher, Saif Ali Khan as a Dalit teacher romancing Deepika Padukone, who plays Bachchan's daughter in the film.

Jha has also maintained that his film is balanced and shows reservation as a "Constitutional truth." About 160 million Indians or 16 per cent of the population are Dalits, according to the 2001 census.

"While the overall theme of the film is not objectionable, it is loaded with anti-Dalit and anti-reservation dialogues," PL Punia, the chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes told local media. "Aarakshan has failed.

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