The filmmakers’ documentary screening was cancelled at a state-run cultural centre
The director of an investigative documentary that tracks the events leading to the Muzaffarnagar riots last year and is anti-BJP in tone, Monday said the West Bengal government’s decision to cancel the film’s screening at a state-run cultural centre reflects its “refusal to take on the BJP”.
The Muzzafarnagar riots in Uttar Pradesh last year left nearly 40 people dead according to some estimates, and over 50,000 homeless.
The documentary En Dino Muzaffarnagar by filmmaker Shubhradeep Chakravorty and Meera Chaudhury explores “how the BJP swung the caste differences between the Jats and Muslims, in their favour to garner maximum votes in alliance with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), right before the crucial Lok Sabha elections in May this year”.
The documentary which was rejected by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), but screened at Mumbai’s Prithvi Theatre in April, was scheduled for a showing at Kolkata’s Charukala Bhavan July 12.
However, Chakravorty received a letter at the last moment July 11 intimating the cancellation.
“I think the state government does not want to take on the BJP at this point of time… it is playing safe. The letter did not give any clear reason for the cancellation… it just said ‘due to unavoidable circumstances’ the screening was cancelled,” Chakravorty told IANS Monday.
The film had a private screening Monday in the premises of the Iran Society here.
According to Chakravorty, the documentary was shot in the months following the riots in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli areas, from August last year to April 2014.
Though it focuses on the string of events that stirred the agitation, the role of local political leaders, the situation during the mayhem and the conditions after and includes interviews with Jat rioters as well, the documentary also portrays instances of amity-how both communities helped each other.
In addition, it also offers a glimpse of the impact the riots in Muzaffarnagar – which lies in the sugar belt of western Uttar Pradesh – had on the sugarcane agitation.
“It is no wonder that the BJP won by such a large majority… since our documentary is anti-BJP in nature, the state government is not willing to show it,” Chakravorty added.
Chakravorty’s 2003 outing on the notorious Godhra riots, “Godhra Tak: The Terror Trail”, had infuriated the RSS.