Mumbai: Parsis In Uproar Over ‘Hurtful’ Videos; Police Start Probe

An FIR was registered by the Gamdevi police on Tuesday after a community member made repeated complaints

Parsis have been most displeased and unhappy the last couple of months. Reason: certain videos, uploaded in February-March and circulated among community members in September-October, have hurt their religious sentiments. An FIR was registered by the Gamdevi police on Tuesday after a community member made repeated complaints.

‘Sentiments hurt’
Rumy Zarir, the complainant, said the discussion about the objectionable content of the five videos, uploaded by different channels, first started on WhatsApp and Facebook. While two videos state that in Zoroastrianism, siblings marry each other, another describes the Tower of Silence as a haunted place and later narrates tales involving ghosts seen near the structure. Zarir wants legal action to be taken against the people involved. “These videos are spreading lies about our religion and beliefs. I don’t understand why such videos are made. We are a peace-loving community, and these videos have deeply hurt our sentiments,” he said.

Rumy Zarir, the complainant
Rumy Zarir, the complainant

Zarir first approached the Gamdevi police last month. On Tuesday, the police finally registered a complaint. A few Parsis have commented on Facebook that the videos are depicting their religion in a poor light by referring to someone’s Navjote (initiation ceremony) as child marriage. Many of them have even called up trustees of the Bombay Parsi Punchayat (BPP) and asked them to take up the issue.

Trustee speak
While Armaity Tirandaz, a trustee, agreed that action should be taken against those who make such videos, another trustee, Xerxes Dastur, echoed that they have hurt the community’s sentiments. “We respect freedom of expression, but the content of these videos is vicious and slanderous. We’re all disturbed by it. People have gotten in touch with me to voice their concerns,” he said, adding that the BPP will get involved if needed.

Viraf Mehta, another trustee, said he, too, has received several phone calls from members asking the BPP to take a stand on the issue. “The content of the videos is making an outright mockery of the community. There is uproar about the community being defamed and demeaned like this,” he added. The FIR has been registered against unknown people under section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings or beliefs). “We received a complaint about the videos. We have registered an FIR and are investigating,” said DCP Dnyaneshwar Chavan.

Published on Mid-Day