Delhi police book Leena Manimekalai over controversial ‘Kaali’ poster
The Delhi police registered a case against Leena Manikalai after a lawyer filed a complaint against her over a controversial poster of her documentary film, ‘Kaali’
The Delhi police on Tuesday registered a case against Canada-based filmmaker Leena Manimekalai after a lawyer filed a complaint against her over a controversial poster of her documentary film, ‘Kaali’, which showed the Goddess smoking a cigarette and holding a rainbow flag in her hand, which represents the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, officials said.
The Madurai-born filmmaker shared the poster of ‘Kaali’ on the microblogging website, Twitter, on Saturday and said the documentary was part of the ‘Rhythms of Canada’ segment at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. It triggered widespread fury on social media and prompted the Indian High Commission in Toronto to ask the authorities in Canada for removal of the posters.
KPS Malhotra, deputy commissioner of police (DCP), intelligence fusion and strategic operation (IFSO) unit of the Delhi police, said that a case has been lodged under Indian Penal Code sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).
“The complainant attached the alleged photo of Goddess Kaali smoking a cigarette, posted by a verified Twitter handle belonging to Leena Manimekalai. Prima facie, the content appeared promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and race and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony, which is likely to disturb the public tranquility,” he said
Malhotra further said that such types of posts are likely to cause hindrance in normalcy process after the recent disturbances in certain parts of India resulting in the killing of people. “Also, this post has been released on social media at a strategic time which is likely to entice religious sentiments of the people and is likely to promote enmity amongst various religious groups. From the contents of the complaint and the alleged post, a case (FIR No 194/2022) has been registered against Manimekalai. Investigation has been taken up,” he added.
Earlier on Monday, the Uttar Pradesh police registered a first information report against Manimekalai and two others who worked on the film over the same issue on charges of ‘criminal conspiracy, offence in place of worship, deliberately hurtling religious sentiments, (and) intention to provoke breach of peace’.
Reacting to the angry responses on social media, the filmmaker wrote in a tweet in Tamil, “I have nothing to lose. Till the time I live, I wish to live with a voice that speaks what I believe without fear. If the price for that is my life, it can be given.” She also urged people to watch the documentary to understand the context behind the poster.