Beaten, heckled and disrupted by JNU leftists, filmmaker Sudipto Sen speaks up

We had reported earlier on how leftist organizations at JNU had disrupted the screening of the movie ‘In the name of Love’ by filmmaker Sudipta Sen on the illegal conversions of women in Kerala. Students were assaulted and a car allegedly ran over a security guard by ex-JNUSU President Mohit Pandey who is now said to be critical.

Promotional poster for the movie

Sudipta Sen took to Facebook to voice his discontent over the matter. He stated that JNUSU had ‘lynched’ and ‘raped’ art, artists, artistic expression and freedom of speech. He also wrote that they shamed the country’s premier institute.

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In a conversation with OpIndia, Sudipto Sen asserted that he was not associated with the BJP or the RSS. He emphasized that his movie was not directed at any particular religious community and the intention was not to spark any communal tension but towards exposing the international conspiracy, plotted by ISIS and Taliban, that is underway in Kerala, involving radical Islamist outfits. He said, “The film is not anti-Muslim or anti any community for that matter. It is basically about the pattern we identified in Kerala, the bigger ISIS plan to convert Kerala into an Islamic state which was predicted by V.S.Achutanandan.”

The screening was organized by Vivekananda Vichar Manch. Sudipto Sen claimed that the organization “somehow had some link with the RSS”. The screening was then opposed by the “so-called communists of JNU” which then took a violent turn. The filmmaker also stated that the events that transpired in JNU reminded him of Karni Sena and the manner in which they opposed the screening of Padmaavat.

During the conversation, Sudipto Sen said that many students were assaulted during the attack. When asked if he was personally assaulted as well, he said that he was. He claimed that he was manhandled and he was pushed and slapped. Attempts were made to crush his laptop and snatch his hard-disk. He tried to downplay the assault on himself while ruing the fact that innocent people were attacked and hurt in the process. Some security guards were beaten, assaulted and their clothes were torn by communists including the ex-JNUSU President who allegedly ran a car over a security guard.

Sudipto Sen stated that it was his intention to begin the movie’s journey in JNU as it is touted to be a university that is an intellectual and cultural hub in India. He remarked that JNU has been the hub of intellectual and political thought in the country and advocating progressive ideas but the kind of intolerance that was displayed towards him is disheartening. He also remarked that the abuses that were thrown at him and the attempts that were made to shut down the screening was anti-democratic. He said, “…the kind of intolerance they have shown, the kind of abuses they have shown, the kind of attitude they have shown against an artwork… What I did is my art, if you are choking the truth, if you are stopping art being displayed, then it is basically an anti-democratic situation prevailing in JNU.”

Sudipto Sen also told us that the communist movement has become increasingly irrelevant today. He asserted that communism is fading away and is “dying its own death”. He also said that their leaders don’t “inspire” anymore and that they have “nothing to offer” to the country and were continuing with their “myopic vision”. Sen continued, “JNUSU being a left-oriented student union, they are reflecting the kind of threat the communist movement in the world is facing today, it is a reflection of their intolerance. There is a traditional Indian saying, the lamp burns the brightest toward its end.” He also remarked that those disrupting the screening were under the impression that the movie will tarnish the reputation of the current communist government in Kerala, the only state in the country where the Left Front has its government because the PFI has “the patronage of the local communist government.”

Speaking of the movie, Sudipto Sen stated that nobody could comprehend the magnitude of the menace. He rued the fact that the ones disrupting the screening did not actually watch the movie as the screening was disrupted. He reiterated that the movie was about illegal conversions and the manner in which girls were trafficked abroad. Sudipto Sen further remarked that the movie was an expression of his patriotic duty to expose the manner in which girls were being converted and trafficked and the agony of the mothers of all those girls deserved to be heard. “If my daughter comes home after two hours of the scheduled time, then agony is experienced by the father and mother of the child. If 33,000 girls have been taken away, then what will a mother go through? This is a normal common patriotic expression which we displayed in the film,” said Sen.

Sen said there was a pattern to the conversions that were taking place and there is a plan in place by radical Islamist organizations to convert Kerala into an Islamic theocratic state, something which was claimed by then Kerala Chief Minister V.S.Achuthanandan in 2010. Achuthanandan, who was from CPI(M) himself, had claimed that PFI was supplying money and weapons to the youth to achieve its objective. Sen also stated that he is in possession of documents that would prove every claim he has made in the movie. He stated, “We are not illogical, we didn’t use a single emotional word. Every word in the film is backed by a supporting document. We have the documents, infuriating documents we have. So we have just spoken about the documents we have collected. It is so so scary.”

The filmmaker also told us that he has a press conference scheduled at the Delhi Press Club today and they will chart their future course of action after that. He also mentioned that he has proposals from Kolkata and northeastern states to screen the movie and is hopeful that his movie will be watched and duly appreciated.

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