On 24 October 2021, the religious militant organisation Bajrang Dal harassed actors and crew members and raided the set of the TV series Ashram when the crew attempted to film in Bhopal, India, reported First Post.
During the attack, Bajrang Dal threw ink over filmmaker Prakash Jha and assaulted one of the crew members with a metal pole.
Before the attack, Bajrang Dal’s activists protested in Bhopal with slogans saying that the series had “hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus” because it “contains obscene scenes”.
Following the attack on crew and actors, the Home Minister of the Madhya Pradesh government, Narottam Mishra, commented on the Hindu religion’s portrayal in the series. According to The Print, he said that “If there is any scene which is objectionable or if you have a story that hurts any religion, then first give that story to the administration and get permission and carry out shooting only after that.”
The Producers Guild of India released a statement strongly condemning the attack on actors and crew members of the Ashram series and highlighting that “Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident, and the Guild is alarmed to note the frequency with which both the production and exhibition sectors are severely and illegally disrupted by various elements with impunity.”
Official Statement by Producers Guild Of India pic.twitter.com/xpqUEMcjJ6
— Producers Guild of India (@producers_guild) October 25, 2021
Freemuse’s State of Artistic Freedom 2021 report spotlights that in 2020, India’s Hindu nationalist government disproportionally suppressed artists expressing political dissent and allegedly “insulting Hinduism”.