Thursday, 13 November 2008

Maharashtra bans film on migrants

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Maharashtra has banned a film on hardships faced by migrants in Mumbai for fears it could stoke fresh attacks on immigrants in a city often swept up in violent regional rivalries.

The film "Deshdrohi" (Traitor) revolves around the often violent confrontation between immigrants and Mumbai locals who resent being overrun by job-seekers from poor northern and eastern states for whom the city holds hope for a better life.

"Some of the scenes in the film are such that they can provoke a law-and-order situation, so the police had recommended a ban for 60 days," said a police spokesman in Mumbai.

"The state has agreed with our view."

The low-budget film, a departure from the typical Bollywood fare of racy thrillers and lavish musicals, was scheduled to be released on Friday.

The Mumbai police had watched a special screening last week, the spokesman said, after promotional ads sparked concerns it might incite a fresh wave of violence in the city which last month witnessed some of the worst anti-immigrant attacks.

Job-seekers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were attacked by local right-wing Maharashtra Navnirman Sena party, whose leader was then arrested.

Protests against the arrest flared through the state and sparked tit-for-tat attacks and protests in Bihar, where about 100 people were injured and one boy was killed.

Local Marathis make up less than half of Mumbai's population of more than 17 million, and rising anti-immigrant rhetoric is widely seen as a sign of the strain of lopsided economic development.

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