The Neredmet police station in Hyderabad arrested three people on Saturday for screening Anand Patwardhan’s award-winning documentary Ram Ke Naam, after members of the right-wing Hindu radical group Vishwa Hindu Parishad disrupted the program and later lodged complaints against the organisers of the event.
Ram ke Naam is a 1992 documentary that explores the campaign waged by VHP to build the Ram temple at the site of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, as well as the communal violence that it triggered.
The screening was organised by Hyderabad Cinephiles, a movie enthusiasts’ group, at a cafe in Sainikpuri, Hyderabad. Out of the three arrested, Anand Singh and Parag Varma are members of Hyderabad Cinephiles and the third person is Srujan, the cafe owner.
Police took action after Ruthvik Pandrangi, a member of VHP, lodged a complaint claiming that the screening of the documentary was aimed to “create a communal issue” ahead of Ram Temple’s inauguration.
In a video shared on social media, the members of the Hindu extremist group can be seen asking for the names of the film club members and later vandalising the venue.
Following the complaint, the police have registered a case under section 290 (Public nuisance), 295A (Outraging the religious feelings) read with Section 34 (When a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
“The police took the organisers for questioning and they’re still at the police station. They have confiscated the projector too. This is a direct attack on our democratic rights. We witnessed the same religious fanaticism portrayed in the film today,” the film group wrote on Instagram.