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In MP, VHP pushes for OTT ‘guidelines’, meets Governor

On Sunday evening, around 50 men from the Bajrang Dal stormed the set of the web series Aashram-3, smeared ink on the face of director Prakash Jha, and smashed the windshields of at least three buses parked at the site of the shooting in Bhopal's old jail at Arera Hills.

Written by Iram Siddique | Bhopal |
October 30, 2021 6:19:40 am
AASHRAM SEASON 3 vhp mpA poster of Aashram series released on an OTT platform.

Members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) met Madhya Pradesh Governor Mangubhai C Patel on Friday to press their demand for a set of laws or guidelines to be implemented in the state for regulation of OTT platforms and scrutiny of their content.

On Monday, a day after Bajrang Dal members vandalised the set of Prakash Jha’s Aashram-3 in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra had said the government would “issue guidelines” and also make it mandatory for filmmakers to obtain the district administration’s approval before shooting scenes that could offend religious sentiments.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, VHP’s regional head, Rajesh Tiwari, said despite the state government’s assurance, the guidelines had not been drafted yet. “We expect the Governor to give his consent… a law or guidelines should be implemented as soon as possible,” he said.

“Our religion, culture, civilisation and tradition will not be left open for interpretation, to each person’s choice and individual freedom. It should not be about what the audience wants to see, but what we want to show them… which should match with our Indian culture and customs,” he said.

On Sunday evening, around 50 men from the Bajrang Dal stormed the set of the web series Aashram-3, smeared ink on the face of director Prakash Jha, and smashed the windshields of at least three buses parked at the site of the shooting in Bhopal’s old jail at Arera Hills.

Bajrang Dal’s regional head Sushil Sudele had alleged that the web series defamed ashrams by portraying them as places where women were exploited by religious leaders. While four men have been arrested so far, Sudele is among those named in the FIR.

In a letter to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, former Congress Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh has said that Sudele was among those convicted for conspiring in a murder case earlier. He has sought an investigation into the grounds on which he was granted bail.

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