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News & Information From Northeast India

Himanta Biswa Sarma slams filmmakers for taking part in Citizenship Bill protests

Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has slammed the artists, musicians and filmmakers who have been taking part in the ongoing protest against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the first Guwahati International Documentary, Short and Animation Film Festival on Thursday, Sarma asked the filmmakers to focus on making films rather than hitting the street.

“Young people from Assam who have gone out of the state are doing good in the film industry in Mumbai. But here, somehow, within the state, it’s not so. I have seen the artiste on the street participating in the agitations and protests rallies instead of telling their stories through their respective mediums. But why are we leaving our own ways of expressing ourselves,” Himanta said during his speech at the closing ceremony of the film festival.

He also said that maybe the filmmakers have failed to excel in their respective domains and trying to encroach other’s medium to express themselves.

“As a politician I have my own medium to pass a message. Likewise, journalists will write their stories. It’s not a wise thing if a journalist goes to protest instead of writing stories,” he added.

As the state is boiling in reference to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, many from the film fraternity, music industry and journalists have openly joined agitation rallies conducted by various students’ organizations and others.

On January 23, All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) has conducted a massive protest rally where people from all walks of life including prominent musicians, senior journalists and national award winning filmmakers participated in Guwahati.

“This is the burning topic at the moment. Apart from filmmaking, we also have a role to play for the society where we live. And the situation has arrived to come out from comfort zones and raise our voice against the bill which is dangerous to the people and our future,” said Deep Choudhury, the winner of Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director for ‘Alifa’ said who participated in the rally.

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