Punjab: CM Amarinder Singh bans controversial TV serial, amid protests
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh issued an order on Sunday, immediately banning the telecast of controversial TV serial Ram Siya Ke Luv Kush. This comes after the Valmiki community conducted a day-long bandh on Saturday, demanding a nationwide scrapping of the said serial. The bandh resulted in several incidents of violence across Punjab. Among other incidents, a man in Jalandhar was shot at.
The bandh, called by the Valmiki Action Committee, upset normal life in the state, as markets remained largely shut. According to the Committee, the serial contained derogatory remarks and distorted historical facts. Subsequently, it has demanded the serial's airing to be banned throughout the country, and its director and cast to be arrested for deliberately intending to hurt their religious sentiments.
Disallowing the telecast of the serial, Singh warned against any attempts toward disturbing the peace and communal harmony in the state. Following the CM's orders, deputy commissioners issued notifications to cable operators to stop telecasting the serial in their respective districts. Singh also wrote to the Government of India, requesting it to instruct direct-to-home service providers against the telecast of the contentious serial.
On the day of the bandh, commercial establishments in several districts of Punjab, including Jalandhar, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Phagwara, and Ferozepur, remained closed. Some of these shops were forced shut, officials said. The bandh was partially effective in Ludhiana, as medicine shops, clinics and ambulance services were allowed to run. In Jalandhar, a man called Gurpreet Singh was shot at, and later operated upon.
Incidents from other areas were also reported. In one case, articles were thrown out of a grocery shop in Fazilka. The protesters also blocked National Highway-1 (between Jalandhar and Amritsar), thus disrupting bus services from Chandigarh. Amritsar also saw markets and some schools getting shut. Furthermore, young men on motorcycles, followed by police vehicles, brandished swords, bats and sticks to carry out the bandh.
Additionally, the Action Committee warned the authorities that the demonstrations would be intensified, if their demands are not met. The protesters have also demanded a representative of the religious body to be inducted in the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). To note, Ram Siya Ke Luv Kush is a mythological television series that premiered on Viacom 18's Colors TV in August 2019.