Assam police have ordered a ban on the broadcast of the Assamese show ‘Begum Jaan’ which had been airing on Rengoni TV since July 2020. The ban was imposed on Monday, August 24th, and is expected to stay for two months. The decision to ban the show was taken due to massive outrage from Hindutva groups who allege that the show ‘Begum Jaan’ promotes “love jihad.
The ban on “Begum Jaan” has been imposed under the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1995 for offending the ‘religious sentiments’ of a particular community. Assam police started their intervention after activist Gunajit Adhikary and other Hindu groups like United Trust of Assam, All Assam Brahmin Youth Council, and Hindu Jagran Manch lodged complaints against the show, Begam Jaan for encouraging ‘love jihad’.
However, the cast and makers of Begum Jaan have extended their full support to the show. Defending their show, Preety Kkongana, the actress essaying the female protagonist, said that the show narrates the story of a troubled Hindu woman who is helped by a Muslim man. She has also filed FIR with the police alleging that she has received rape and death threats, and is being abused on social media for being a part of a show that allegedly promotes ‘love jihad’.
Chairman and Managing Director of AM Channel controlling the operations of Rengoni TV rubbishes all allegations of ‘Love Jihad’ stating, “Just because a Muslim boy and Hindu woman are the protagonists of the show, they are saying all this. To further their politics, they are making these allegations…If the court provides respite, we will resume (telecast)”.
But Hindu civil societies have levelled charges of presenting a very derogatory picture of the Hindu society, religion, and Assamese culture, against ‘Begum Jaan’. “I suspect that the makers of the TV show had received funds to create social unrest. As a citizen, I want the show to be banned and an investigation to be initiated against the director, producer, and writer of the show,” they emphasized in a letter addressed to Tezpur Sadar Police Station.
Hindu Jagran Manch chief, Mrinal Kumar Lashkar claimed that “It (Begum Jaan) belittles the Brahmins, in the Assamese society already love jihad is there and this serial can trigger it more,”