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SIKKIM

Sikkim court orders FIR, probe against 'Paatal Lok' producers

Sexist slur made against Nepali-speaking community in 'Paatal Lok' that premiered on Amazon Prime Videos on May 15, say petitioners in Sikkim

Pankaj Dhungel

Pankaj Dhungel

Gangtok: A lot of furore has been generated about a racial slur against the Nepali-speaking/Gorkha community in ‘Paatal Lok’, following which, the lower court in Gangtok has ordered for registration of an FIR against Bollywood actor-producer Anushka Sharma and producers of the web series which premiered on Amazon Prime Videos on May 15.

Acting on a petition against Sharma’s production house Clean Slate Films Pvt Ltd filed by Arun Limboo and Prakash Gurung through legal counsel Nawin Kiran Pradhan, the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court of East Sikkim here has ordered Sikkim Police to lodge a complaint and submit a charge sheet in the case.

Commenting on the development, Pradhan, during a press conference on Tuesday, said that a very filthy, disrespectful and harmful dialogue has been made against the Nepali-speaking community on OTT platform Amazon Prime Video’s Paatal Lok, which released on May 15.

(Left to right) Arun Limboo, advocate Nawin Kiran Pradhan and Prakash Gurung during a press meet on Tuesday
(Left to right) Arun Limboo, advocate Nawin Kiran Pradhan and Prakash Gurung during a press meet on Tuesday EastMojo image

“At exactly 3.44 minutes in the second episode of the series, a ‘sexist slur’ has been made by a character ‘Manju Verma’ portrayed by actor Nikita Grover. We highly condemn the issue and we had made up our mind to fight until the end. The case was taken up before the court as the police didn’t take the case seriously," said the advocate.

Pradhan, along with the petitioners, had lodged an FIR at Sadar Police Station against the producers, directors and actors of the web series. As it is a complex issue, the SHO had assured to lodge an FIR only after discussing the matter with the higher authorities. A general diary was lodged then.

The CJM court observed that an investigation is warranted to ascertain whether the alleged offence, some of which are cognizable in nature, have been committed to arrive at a just finding, it is deemed fit to direct the Station House Officer (of Sadar Police Station, Gangtok) to register the FIR. It added that the case be investigated to determine whether the use of the dialogue causes promotion of enmity between different groups on grounds of race and language, or whether commission of the act is prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.

Nawin Kiran said, “We were hopeful that the state government and Sikkim Police would take the matter seriously. Today’s order is the example that if the state had taken the matter seriously, we wouldn’t have been compelled to go to court.”

He expressed that nobody has the right to demean others based on their language and community. “There should be morality and discipline and Paatal Lok violates it. We will take help of law and demand serious investigation. We hope that the state police will register a FIR under CrCP and provide us the copy of the FIR immediately. Producer Anushka Sharma and team should be provided with the notice and brought to Sadar Police Station. Serious investigation should be done,” he demanded.

Paatal Lok case is a sensitive issue. The racial slur is very hurtful and it made me angry. We would urge the authorities to seriously follow-up the case. We took interest in the issue for the benefit of the entire Nepali-speaking community. As the case has been finally registered, we feel good,” said petitioner Prakash Gurung.

He appealed the authorities to seriously follow up the case and strict action to be taken against the makers.

The other petitioner, Arun Limboo, maintained that the racial slur tagged with the Nepali-speaking community is unacceptable. “The web series may be good or bad but the slur that has been used is wrong. In future, the Nepali-community may be called even worse. Why does the film industry always forget and hurt the Nepali-community. Apology and deleting the scene is not enough, strict action should be taken against the makers of Paatal Lok,” he demanded.

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