The Information and Broadcast Ministry has issued a notice to Zee Tamil after the Tamil Nadu BJP complained that "obnoxious comments" were made against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a talent show.
A video of two kids acting in a skit on the Zee Tamil TV show 'Junior Super Stars Season 4' which made fun of Modi went viral.
In the skit, based on a historic Tamil political satire film 'Imsai Arasan 23 am Pulikesi', the two kids who portray the roles of king and minister, are making fun of the king of a country called Sindhiya.
In the film, Tamil comedy actor Vadivelu plays the role of a vain and silly king who is controlled by the British, and regularly imprisons his subjects at his whim. The king in the movie also lives extravagantly even when there is poverty and famine in the land.
In the skit, the kids are seen narrating how the king in the country named Sindhiya tried to flush out black money by demonetising the currency and failed. The character are seen mocking this strategy of the king. The Minister says, "that king also did the same thing as you, like a fool."
He then goes on to say the king of Sindhiya did nothing about his failed attempts and roams around wearing colourful jackets.
The king contemplates travelling to the north and south of his kingdom in disguise to know what people think about him (This is a reference to the movie, wherein Vadivelu dresses up in disguise to go around and see what people thought of him). To this, the minister says, "Nobody in South cares about you. They don't even care when we go dressed as ourselves."
BJP Slams Zee Tamil
The BJP alleged that the show 'made fun' of the Prime Minister over the 2016 demonetisation attempt, by making fun of the fictitious king who carried out a similar exercise and was criticised.
CTR Nirmal Kumar, State President of IT and Social Media Cell of BJP in Tamil Nadu, wrote to the channel asking the program be taken off air, alleging that "obnoxious" comments were made about the Prime Minister and his judgments.
Kumar's complaint was followed up by the Union Information and Broadcast Ministry which issued a notice the channel seeking its comments within seven days.
"Throughout this two-minute-long performance of two kids, the judges, anchors, and the mentor were seen applauding the same without any kind of inhibition. However, when people in our party contacted them, they had said that it was not their reaction to the performance and that they were shocked at the edit. They claimed that their reactions at other times were edited and added here. This has been done intentionally, either for publicity or for some political agenda," Nirmal said
He also added that BJP contacted the judges, and they had reportedly said that it was not their real reactions and that they were shocked at the edit. They claimed that their reactions were edited and added here.
Nirmal also said that the channel promised to remove the concerned part from its website and will abstain from re-telecasting the same, post his letter.
Nirmal Kumar, in his letter to the Chief Cluster Officer of Zee Enterprises Limited Siju Prabhakaran, said that the children, aged around 10, were 'deliberately' asked to make these comments against the Prime Minister.
"Scathing remarks were passed about demonetisation, his diplomatic travel to various countries, PM's attire, and disinvestment. For a kid below the age of 10, it would have been impossible to even understand what these mean. But, under the name of comedy, these topics were forced into the children," Nirmal Kumar said in the letter.
He also accused the channel of not taking any action to curtail "blatant misinformation" being spread against the Prime Minister.
"It is evident that the channel made no effort to curtail this blatant misinformation passed casually and that too through young children. To outrun their fellow participants, these children just do what is told to them. What was being spoken is beyond their reasonable understanding and the guardians of these minors and Channel have to be held legally and morally accountable for this act," Nirmal Kumar has said.
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