India asks YouTube to block ‘vulgar’ video
MUMBAI: Indian police said Monday they had asked YouTube and Facebook to block a video poking fun at cricket great Sachin Tendulkar, sparking the country’s latest row over freedom of expression.
Comedian Tanmay Bhat posted the clip, which also mocked famous Indian movie singer Lata Mangeshkar, on his Facebook page last week, angering rightwing politicians in Mumbai who complained to police.
Police in the western Indian city received two complaints — one from a local politician belonging to Narendra Modi’s ruling Bhartiya Janata Party who said the clip was defamatory.
The other was from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, a fringe pro-Marathi party in Mumbai, which is the capital of Maharashtra state, force spokesman Sangramsingh Nishandar said.
“We have sought a legal opinion. In the meantime we have written to YouTube and Facebook to block the above-mentioned video,” Nishandar told AFP.
In the two-minute clip Bhat, a member of online comedy group AIB, mimics a conversation between Tendulkar and Mangeshkar.
He said Mangeshkar, who is 86, looked like she’d been kept in water for eight days and suggested she should die.
Bhat posted a comment with the video describing it as “nonsense.”
“Also I obviously love Lata and Sachin, just having some fun,” he wrote.
AIB fell foul of authorities last year when they were at the center of an obscenity investigation over some sexually explicit jokes in a comedy “roast” show featuring several Bollywood stars.
India, the world’s largest democracy, has long been proud of its tradition of artistic, cultural and religious freedoms but a series of bans recently sparked accusations of a growing climate of intolerance under Hindu nationalist PM Modi.
Many social media users accused Bhatt’s video of being vulgar and unfunny on Monday but also defended his right to make it.
NOT FUNNY: A screen grab taken from comedian Tanmay Bhat’s video mocking Sachin Tendulkar and Lata Mangeshkar.