Mumbai: After a series of FIRs were registered against the recently released web series ‘Tandav’ elsewhere in the country, the Mumbai police too registered an offence against the makers and artists of the series on Wednesday. The FIR has been registered on a written complaint by BJP MLA Ram Kadam at the Ghatkopar police station, four days ago.
The First Information Report (FIR) was registered against five persons, namely the series director Ali Abbas Zafar, producer Himanshu Mehra, writer Gaurav Solanki, Amazon Prime's India head Amit Agarwal and its head (content) Aparna Purohit. The names of actor Saif Ali Khan, Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub and other artists from the series have also been included in the FIR.
Confirming the registration of an offence, Mumbai Police spokesperson, DCP S Chaitanya said, "We have registered an offence against the officials and actors of the web series and investigation is underway."
According to police, the offence has been registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) section for promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony (153A), deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs (295A) and statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes (505,(2)).
Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted transit pre-arrest bail to Zafar, Purohit, Mehra and Solanki, in connection with a case registered against them in Lucknow, for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through the web series.
Justice PD Naik granted them relief for four weeks so that they could approach the concerned court in Lucknow, where the complaint has been filed against them.
Appearing for the four, senior advocate Aabad Ponda and advocate Aniket Nikam told the court that since the quartet required time to approach the concerned court, they be granted interim protection from arrest.
Their application filed on Wednesday said that they had been wrongly implicated in the case and were innocent.
On Wednesday, a UP police team arrived in the city. Immediately on arrival, they went to the Mumbai Police headquarters in Crawford Market to seek assistance.
The UP police team is likely to record the statements of the makers of the Amazon Prime web series, its cast and crew, in connection with the allegations in the FIR where the four are booked under provisions of the IPC pertaining to promoting enmity between different groups (153A), injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult religion (295) and public mischief with intent to cause fear or alarm (501(1)(B)) and under the Information Technology Act. Already, three FIRs in Greater Noida, Lucknow and Shahjahanpur, all in Uttar Pradesh, have been registered against the web series starring actors Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Mohd Zeeshan Ayub.
In Mumbai, the complaint in the case, Ram Kadam said, “The state government took four days to register an FIR. It should have been done earlier. Mere apology or editing objectionable scenes from the series will not be enough. We want culprits to be put behind bars, until then we will continue our fight.”
On Tuesday, series director Zafar announced they were dropping the controversial scenes. His statement read: “We have utmost respect for the sentiments of the people of our country. We did not intend to hurt or offend the sentiments of any individual, caste, community, race, religion or religious beliefs or insult or outrage any institution, political party or person, living or dead.
“The cast & crew of Tandav have made the decision to implement the changes to the web series to address the concerns raised towards the same. We thank the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for the guidance & support in the matter. We once again apologise if the series has unintentionally hurt anybody’s sentiments (sic).”