There are jokes and there are some “jokes” which are taboo for which one must apologise. Freedom of Expression doesn’t count here. Last year in February, a Catholic group called “Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum” led a Morcha which led to an FIR against All India Bakchod (AIB) because they believe the show is “against Christ”.
This complaint culminated in the infamous “Unconditional Apology” from AIB. The members of AIB met the Archdiocese of Mumbai and tendered an “Unconditional Apology” to the entire Christian community.
Come 2016 and we might be seeing another episode like the above. We had already seen how just recently, an Indian Express group publication “Loksatta” apologized for its editorial on Roman Catholic missionary Mother Teresa. Now, Hrithik Roshan has been apparently caught up in a legal storm over a tweet.
As per this report, Hrithik Roshan has been served a “criminal notice under Section 295 (A) of Indian Penal Code” for the following tweet
A Mumbai resident Abraham Mathai, ex-Vice Chairman of States Minorities Commission and President of Indian Christian Voice has sent the notice, the report adds.
Last year, during the “Churches under attack” narrative, Mathai, was an active voice. When a church in New Panvel, Navi Mumbai was “attacked”, this was his statement:
These communal goons are emboldened by the indifference of the government at the Centre and the state, and therefore continue perpetrating such heinous crimes with impunity.
As we all know, the case was later solved and the culprits were found to be gamblers, whose den, which is located near the church was raided recently. On suspicion that the Church ratted them out, they attacked the church.
According to a ANI news report, even the Christian Secular Forum has sent a legal notice to Hrithik asking for an unconditional apology:
Christian Secular Forum in Mumbai sends a legal notice to Hrithik Roshan,seeks unconditional apology for his tweet on Pope Francis
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 30, 2016
In October last year, a group called the Catholic Secular Forum forced a ban on a play called “Agnes of God” even before a single show could be performed. According to the official site, the official name of this group is “The Catholic-Christian Secular Forum (CSF)” and if that is the case, we may have to wake up to a new “fringe” group which is regularly launching attacks on the Freedom of speech in India.