Entertainment News

  • 22 August 2014, 11:53

India Bans Indira Gandhi Assassination Film

The release of a controversial film about the assassination of former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi has been blocked over fears it glorifies her killers and could trigger protests.

Kaum De Heere, or Diamonds Of The Community, tells the story of Ms Gandhi's Sikh bodyguards who shot the premier dead in 1984 apparently in revenge for a military operation that killed hundreds of Sikhs.

Earlier this week the youth wing of Gandhi's Congress party wrote to current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the film portrays the two bodyguards as heroes.

Vikramjit Chaudhary, president of the Punjab Pradesh Youth Congress, a local unit of Congress, said the film sent the wrong signal to young disaffected Sikhs in northern Punjab state where the army's Operation Bluestar was carried out in 30 years ago.

Certification board chief Leela Samson said panel members saw the film and decided it could not be released as it poses a threat to public order.

Samson says India's Home Ministry had expressed concern about a clearance earlier given to the film and had asked the panel to review it.

Acting on Ms Gandhi's orders in 1984, the army stormed the Sikh religion's holiest shrine, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, searching for militants holed up inside who were fighting for a separate homeland for Sikhs.

A few months later in October, two of Gandhi's bodyguards shot her dead, sparking a violent backlash against the Sikh community that left about 3,000 people dead, mostly on the streets of Delhi.

Ms Gandhi's son Rajiv Gandhi took her place as prime minister that same day. He was assassinated by a suicide bomber from the LTTE in 1991.

One of the bodyguards, Beant Singh, was killed by police shortly after Ms Gandhi's murder, while the other, Satwant Singh, was later hanged.

Director Ravinder Ravi has defended his film, whose characters speak in Punjabi, saying it had "no heroes or villains".

"All that I am doing is telling a human story about two families that is neither political nor aimed at creating trouble," Ravi told The Hindu newspaper.

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