'Aarakshan' ban evokes mixed reactions in Uttar Pradesh

Aug 11, 2011 IANS

Lucknow, Aug 11 (IANS) The Uttar Pradesh government's move to ban the screening of Prakash Jha-directed film "Aarakshan", based on caste-based reservations in the education system, has evoked a mixed response from people in the state.

While a section of the people term the ban "illogical", others supported the government's decision, saying the movie could create law and order problems.

"Considering the fact that the movie was cleared by the Censor Board, that is governed by the central government, the state government's decision seems quite surprising. I would say it appears illogical," Rohit Prakash, a research scholar in Chemistry at Lucknow University, told IANS.

"Several of us in the department had planned to watch the movie, but it's quite disappointing that we would not be able to do so now," he added.

In a late night decision, the Mayawati government Wednesday banned the release of "Aarakshan" in the state till further orders on the grounds that the film could create law and order problems.

The decision to ban the film, which was due to release Friday, was taken by a high-level committee set up by the state government.

Noted human rights activists and retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer S.R. Darapuri told IANS: "I just fail to understand why the government has banned the release of the movie... I am in support of reservation... it has been a part of the system for decades now."

"There have always been both voices -- supporting reservation and opposing it. Now, if the government feels that the ban on the movie would change that situation, it's totally irrational. I feel that the decision to ban the screening of the movie is more of a political stunt," added Darapuri, a former inspector general of police.

However, Dalit leader Udit Raj supported the ban.

"I totally agree that the ban is in public interest, taking into account certain objectionable dialogues and scenes that are against Dalits," Raj told IANS.

Echoing similar views, Sanjay Sonkar, a freelance photojournalist, told IANS: "As youths tend to get influenced by movies easily, I believe 'Aarakshan' could incite them, which in turn could create law and order problems."

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