Amid spirited efforts of polarisation by both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress in Bhopal ahead of the Lok Sabha election, the Election Commission on Monday allegedly stopped the screening midway of a short film, titled ‘Bhagwa Atankwaad – Bhramjaal’ by an RSS affiliate.
Though Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) VL Kantha Rao said he was unaware of any such order passed by the poll body, organisers furnished an order from the assistant returning officer against the screening.
The film, screened by voluntary organisation Bharat Vichar Manch in Bhopal, was halfway through and former RAW officer RSN Singh was having a discussion with reporters when the “EC directives” came in.
Police personnel also intervened and stopped the press briefing. The movie is, however, available on YouTube.
The short deals with the issue of ‘saffron terrorism’ and comprises statements of mainly three political personalities – Congress leaders Sushil Shinde, P Chidambaram and Digvijaya Singh —on saffron terrorism and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Singh, a former chief minister, is the Congress candidate from Bhopal, while the BJP has fielded Malegaon blasts accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur as his opponent.
It conveys the message that Malegaon and Samjhahuta blasts were a conspiracy to malign the image of Hindus. The movie also quotes findings of the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
On Sunday, the Bharatiya Vichar Manch, another saffron outfit, organised a symposium on internal security in the city.
The organisers claimed Monday’s programme wasn’t linked with the election, but was only an attempt to establish the truth.
The former RAW director, Singh, told reporters that it was all was hatched at the behest of a foreign woman.
“The term ‘saffron terror’ was coined in a well-planned conspiracy in Lutyens’ Delhi,” Singh said, while backing Thakur’s decision of foraying into politics.
Rajiv Pandey, the producer of the short film, claimed the court verdict on the Samjhauta Express blast was available on the internet. By this time, police officers reached the venue and the press briefing came to an end.
One of the organisers, Pradeep Tripathi, claimed permission for the event had been sought from the administration.
Later, spokespersons of the district returning officer (RO) and CEO denied issuing any such order to stop the event from their office.
The CEO told News18, “If our offices have denied (permission), better ask the persons who claimed EC intervention in the said event.”
Tripathi told News18 the event was interrupted in a dramatic manner. “Initially, we got a call from the office of district RO, Bhopal, for calling off the event and later some EC observers showed an order on a cell phone,” said Tripathi, adding, “To honour the EC directive, we called off the event and after 15 minutes, we received an order from the assistant Returning Officer, Hanumanganj Sub-Division.”
The order, accessed by News18 read, “On your application for an event for screening a short movie on May 6 was received by after seeking an opinion from City SP MP Nagar the application is rejected”.
Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee legal cell chairman JP Dhanopia said his party had complained to the EC against the movie, which according to the party was aimed at benefitting a BJP candidate and disturbing communal atmosphere during election. The grand old party, in the complaint, had requested immediate ban on the film.
Later, the saffron outfit issued a communique stating that permission for the said event was sought from the SDM’s office Hanumanganj on May 6 and the EC quashed the permission without any prior information which was unjustified and improper.
“Prima facie, the move seems to be a political one and we are pondering over legal options and would take appropriate action shortly,” the voluntary organisation said.