Activists from a radical Hindu right-wing organization attacked the entire Ashram and smeared Indian director Prakash Jha with black ink, claiming the web series was “offensive to Hinduism”.
The violent incident happened in the town of Bhopal as Jha was shooting scenes for the third season over the weekend, when workers from Bajrang Dal attacked the set, claiming the web series had hurt the feelings of the Hindu community. Ashram 3 stars Bollywood actors Bobby Deol, Chandan Roy Sanyal and Aaditi Pohankar, among others.
The plot follows Baba Nirala (the character of Deol), a man-god who becomes ruthless in his attempt to seize power and relies on corrupt politicians for cover as he attacks innocent women who seek deliverance.
In a video of the incident posted on social media, activists can be seen vandalizing the set by smashing bus windshields and assaulting crew members.
Bajrang Dal chief Sushil Sudele said News18: “They made Ashram 1, Ashram 2 and were pulling Ashram 3 here. Prakash Jha showed Aashram that the guru mistreats women. Does he have the guts to make such a film about a church or a madrasa? Who does he think he is? “
Police Commissioner Sai Krishna Thota said no one has been arrested so far.
“Prakash Jha has wrongly portrayed the arrangements in a Hindu ashram in previous seasons by showing the exploitation of women by gurus,” Sudele added. âThere have been ashrams in the Sanatan Dharma for the past thousand years which have played an important role in building social values. There is no truth to what has been shown in this web series.
“Sanatan dharma” refers to an eternal framework of religious duties incumbent on all Hindus.
The politician also mentioned that his organization “was looking for actor Bobby Deol who should learn from his older brother Sunny Deol (Bollywood actor and politician), who has [previously] played roles in patriotic films.
Former parliamentarian Dr Bhalchandra Mungekar called on the Bajrang Dal for their actions on the Jha Plateau.
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He tweeted, “I most strongly condemn Bajrang Dal for attacking Cine producer Mr. Prakash Jha in Bhopal on Aashram 3 sets and smearing ink on his shirt.”
âIt’s a law of the jungle. The government must take tough action against the culprits, âadded Mungekar.
âAll disbelievers were driven from the premises and no one was fatally injured, although some vehicles were damaged. Other measures will be taken against those responsible, âsaid Irshad Wali, deputy inspector general of Bhopal, quoted by the ANI news agency.
The United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2018 listed Bajrang Dal as a militant religious organization in its World Factbook, according to Indian media. The die-hard Hindu group is known to control the content and activities they see as a creeping Western influence and a threat to Hinduism.
The independent contacted the Deol team for comment.