Filmmaker Leena Manimekalai, whose controversial July 2 tweet was taken down by Twitter on Thursday said she does not feel safe “anywhere at this moment”. The filmmaker has been accused of hurting religious sentiments after she shared a poster of her documentary Kaali which portrays Goddess Kali smoking and holding an LGBTQ flag. Kaali Poster Controversy: Meera Chopra Slams Leena Manimekalai for Showing Goddess Kaali Smoking a Cigarette.
Leena took to Twitter today to post: “It feels like the whole nation – that has now deteriorated from the largest democracy to the largest hate machine – wants to censor me. I do not feel safe anywhere at this moment,” and tagged the UK publication The Guardian and an interview she gave the newspaper.
The Canada-based Madurai born Indian filmmaker also shared a picture which depicted a man and a woman dressed as Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, smoking. “Elsewhere….” she captioned the post.
She also lashed out at the BJP and tweeted: “BJP payrolled troll army have no idea about how folk theatre artists chill post their performances. This is not from my film. This is from everyday rural India that these sangh parivars want to destroy with their relentless hate & religious bigotry. Hindutva can never become India.”
Meanwhile, Delhi Police have registered a case against documentary film Kaali and its director Manimekalai for allegedly hurting religious sentiments with its poster. The Cyber Crime Unit of the Delhi Police registered an FIR under Sections 153 A (promoting enmity between groups) and 295 A (outraging religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Also, the Indian High Commission on Monday urged the Canadian authorities to withdraw the disrespectful depiction of Hindu Gods showcased as part of the Under the Tent project at the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto.
“We urge the Canadian authorities and the event organizers to withdraw all such provocative material,” the Indian High Commission in Canada said. The museum authorities in Toronto have now come forward to apologise for hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus. Maa Kaali Poster Row: Leena Manimekalai Booked by Delhi Police Over Controversial Documentary Poster Showing Hindu Goddess Smoking Cigarette.
In a statement, the authorities said that the Toronto Metropolitan University brought together works from students of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, with each student exploring their individual sense of belonging as part of Canadian multiculturalism for the project Under the Tent.
“Toronto Metropolitan University’s project presentation was hosted once at the Aga Khan Museum on July 2, 2022 in the context of the Museum’s mission to foster intercultural understanding and dialogue through the arts. Respect for diverse religious expressions and faith communities forms an integral part of that mission. The presentation is no longer being shown at the Museum,” the statement read.