//Of immolation and the continuing

Of immolation and the continuing

Tuesday, June 13th, 2006, IndiaEnews.COM

Ahmedabad – People close to him, it appears, had no clue that Gujarat youth Pravin Joshi would try to immolate himself to protest against the screening of Aamir Khan-starrer ‘Fanaa’ in a Jamnagar theatre.

His distraught parents say their son has nothing to do with politics or the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But party sources insist Joshi got enrolled as a member six weeks ago.

What makes Joshi’s act June 11 poignant is that he had got married just three months ago and the wife, who is at her parents’ place, had no clue of his plans. Nor had colleagues at his office because he was absent from work for five days.

Being shown in only one theatre in Gujarat, the film was withdrawn Monday after Joshi’s act, media reports said.

There is a virtual ban on the screening of the film in the state. The BJP says that Aamir has gone against the people of Gujarat by commenting on the Narmada dam issue. Aamir had demanded rehabilitation for the dam oustees.

‘Fanaa’ was screened in the Jamnagar theatre thanks to the political initiative of Vikram Madam, a Congress Lok Sabha member. Madam points out that 13,000 people saw the film and this ’shows where people’s sentiments are’.

But the party is generally on the defensive since anything said or done in favour of ‘Fanaa’ is taken as anti-Narmada and hence anti-Gujarat.

The BJP says it has called off a further campaign against Aamir, including plans to burn his effigies, after the film was withdrawn from the lone theatre.

The party holds Madam ‘guilty’ of provoking Joshi to commit self-immolation by the act of screening the film and wants him to be booked and arrested along with his nephew Vishal, who owns the theatre.