BJP frowns at Ram Ke Naam


THE ASIAN AGE 11.31.97

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party criticised the government’s screening of Anand Patwardhan’s documentary Ram Ke Naam, which it described as a “fabrication,” our correspondent reports.
Raising the issue in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, BJP MP K.R. Malkani asked why it was screened in “such indecent haste”. He also attacked the Mumbai high court order which lifted the earlier ban on the film. “Why did not the government appeal the order in a higher court?” he asked. Heated exchanges ensued as the United Front MPs defended the screening while the BJP and some others alleged that the documentary would incite communal hatred, by hurting the religious sentiments of millions of Hindus. The Congress presented a divided front, with Mr S.S. Ahluwalia condemning the screening while Mr Sibte Razi praised it. The United Front MPs lauded the movie saying it “exposed” the real culprits who incited communal passions.”The previous government was responsible enough not to telecast it, but unfortunately the present government chose to telecast it, hurting the religious sentiments of millions in the country,” Mr Malkani said.

Ram Ke Naam rocks Rajya Sabha
EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE, NEW DELHI, MARCH 10, 1997DOORDARSHAN’S telecasting of the Ayodhya-re-lated film ‘Ram Ke Naam’ led to a heated debate in the Rajya Sabha, with the BJP accusing the judiciary of overstepping its jurisdiction and charging the government with jeopardising communal harmony in the country.
The ensuing exchanges between members also exposed the fissures in the Congress — S S Ahluwalia supported the BJP while former Home minister Syed Sibtey Razi declaring that he was speaking on behalf of his party, said that the Congress would back whatever the United Front did to expose communal parties.The matter was raised today by K R Malkani (BJP), who described the film as a ‘cocktail of fiction’ and alleged that the ‘hero’ of the film (Mahant Laldas, pujari of the Ram temple in Ayodhya who was assassinated in 1993) was corrupt. Malkani criticised the Bombay High Court (which recently ordered that the film should be telecast) for laying down that the firm must be telecast on DD’s national network and during prime time.” Are not some courts exceeding their jurisdiction? Law and order is the jurisidiction of the executive, not the judiciary,” he said. He asked why the government had not appealed against the order in the Supreme Court. He said that the previous government had been ‘more responsible’ by banning the film, which would incite communal violence’. (The film, made by noted filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, was telecast eight days ago. There have been no incidents of communal disturbance since then.)Left party members immediately sprang into vociferous support of the film. Biplab Dasgupta (CPI-M) demanded an inquiry into the murder of Mahant Laldas who, he said, had preached Hindu-Muslim harmony. He argued that the film was a serious filmmaker’s interpretation of a historic event. Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) said Malkani could have gone into appeal to the Supreme Court. The issue was being raised for political purposes, he said.Interestingly, Ahluwalia (Congress) rose to support Malkani’s contention that the film should not have been telecast. Meanwhile, in Uttar Pradesh ,over 25,000 devotees from neighbouring Nepal and Bihar will chant the name of Lord Rama at the Sitaram Naam Mahayagya at Ayodhya tomorrow.

Other reaction to the telecast.