The Delhi and Uttar Pradesh Police on Tuesday lodged separate FIRs against Leena Manimekalai for “hurting religious sentiment” after a controversial poster of the filmmaker’s documentary film ‘Kaali’ depicting the Hindu Goddess smoking sparked a furore online.
The Delhi Police booked the filmmaker under several provisions of the IPC sections including Sections 153A and 295A. On the other hand, the UP Police has booked the filmmaker under charges of criminal conspiracy, offense in place of worship, deliberately hurting religious sentiments, and intention to provoke breach of peace for highlighting Hindu deities in a disrespectful manner, reported The Indian Express.
Writing to the organisers of the event where the film is set to be screened, the Indian High Commission in Canada also urged the officials to withdraw the “provocative” poster, while pointing out several complaints received from the Hindu community in Canada regarding the disrespect shown to Goddess Kali.
Manimekalai came under fire from several netizens, moments after she tweeted the poster of her documentary film on June 2. “Super thrilled to share the launch of my recent film – today at @AgaKhanMuseum as part of its “Rhythms of Canada.” As the post started getting viral, many demanded her arrest with #Arrestleenamanimekalai trending on the social media platform. In the poster, a woman dressed as Goddess Kali is seen smoking a cigarette, while holding a rainbow-coloured pride flag.
As calls for her arrest grew stronger, the Canada-based filmmaker asked the users to use “love you Leena manimekalai” in place of “#arrest Leena manimekalai”. “The film revolves around the events that take place one evening, when Kali appears and strolls the streets of Toronto. If you see the picture, don’t put the hashtag ‘arrest Leena manimekalai’ and put the hashtag ‘love you Leena manimekalai’” said the filmmaker.
“I have nothing to lose. I want to be with a voice that speaks without fear of anything until it is. If the price is my life, I will give it,” she wrote in another tweet.