Tuesday, January 22, 2019 | ePaper

Muslim writer targeted in Indian episode controversy

  • Print


BBC Online :
A Bangladeshi American writer with no role in scripting a controversial Quantico plot implicating Indian nationalists in terrorism is the target of vicious attacks - including threats of rape and violence - on social media platforms.
Sharbari Zohra Ahmed was on Quantico's writing team for just the first season and directly involved in scripting only two episodes - one independently and the other as a co-author.
Despite pointing this out repeatedly on her timeline, Hindu nationalists have trolled her relentlessly, many accusing her of
being part of an Islamist propaganda against "peace-loving" Hindus.
One comment on Twitter said: "Care to explain your wildest fantasy while you wrote Quantico with Indians being masterminds of an attack? Does this stem from a deep-rooted bias, hate, anti-Hindu, pro-Islam conditioning of your fragile mind?"
Hyper-nationalist TV news anchors first accused the lead actor, Priyanka Chopra, of insulting India while also pointing fingers at a Bangladeshi American with "vested interests".
Ahmed says she hoped that once they realised she had nothing to do with the episode, the fury would die down. But it did not.
"The level of hysterics crescendoed very quickly," she says, adding, "It has grown really vitriolic with threats of rape and violence even toward people supporting me."
She says the angry voices cast her as the Muslim agent of a "diabolical anti-Indian and anti-Hindu propaganda machine that is deliberately spreading hate through this show".
"All they had to do was search Google or look at the screen credits to find out the facts," she says.
The episode, The Blood of Romeo, aired on 1 June in season 3, and showed the main character, Alex Parrish (played by Priyanka Chopra), stopping an attempted terror attack.
Though ostensibly planned by Pakistanis ahead of a summit about Kashmir, Chopra's character discovers it is in fact Hindu nationalists trying to frame the Pakistanis.
The strong reaction forced ABC, producers of the crime drama, and later Chopra to tender an apology. The Network also strongly defended Chopra but no such statement was issued for Ahmed.
Even though she had nothing to do with the scripting, the apologies came as a disappointment for Ahmed, who has previously also written strongly against the rise of radical Islam and raised her voice against atrocities on Hindu minorities in Bangladesh.
"I felt like they (ABC and Chopra) were capitulating to bullies. That's how fascism takes hold," she says.
She vented out her feelings on Twitter after she claimed Chopra's team had blocked her, an allegation that could not be verified independently by the BBC.
Hindu-majority India and a predominantly Muslim Pakistan have fought several wars over the disputed territory of Kashmir, and India holds Pakistan responsible for all major terror attacks on its soil.
But in the last few years the country has also witnessed a growing polarisation between Hindus and Muslims, who feel the Hindu nationalist BJP government of Narendra Modi does not speak for them.
Many Hindu nationalists have used social media platforms aggressively to intimidate voices that they feel show the country or Hindus in a poor light.
"It's a misplaced patriotism and nationalism that's now emblematic of a global phenomenon including the United states," says Ahmed.

More News For this Category

BNP pushes for fresh polls

UNB, Lalmonirhat :Claiming that Awami League has turned into a 'mass enemy' for 'looting democracy', BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday said their movement will continue

2 bodies identified, 18 still missing

bdnews24.com :Authorities have identified two bodies, but 18 people still remain missing six days after a trawler capsized on the Meghna River in Munshiganj.Munshiganj Additional Superintendent of Police (Sadar-Gazaria)

Footballer Kaiser send to jail

Court Correspondent :A Dhaka court yesterday sent former national footballer Kaiser Hamid in the jail in a case filed on the charge of cheating.On Monday Magistrate Mamunur Rashid of

Metro rail network to be expanded

BSS, Dhaka :The government is working on expansion of the planned metro rail network for a coordinated modern public transport management system in Dhaka metropolis and its surrounding areas."The

Drug trader' killed in gunfight

UNB, Cox's Bazar :A drug trader was killed in a reported gunfight with police at Hneela Domdomia Checkpost in Teknaf upazila early Monday.The deceased was identified Shamsul Prokash Bharmaia

Cabinet body reformed

Staff Reporter :The Cabinet on Monday reformed the previous committee to finalise the 9th wage board award for journalists.Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader will head the Cabinet

The 1 Taka Master

UNB, Gaibandha :Imbued with the light of education, Lutfor Rahman has been involved in spreading education to poor children living in the villages along the banks of the Brahmaputra

Schoolgirl commits suicide in city

Staff Reporter :A teenager girl committed suicide by hanging herself at her residence in Bagicha area of Dhaka's Shahjahanpur, on Sunday night, demanded family members.The deceased was identified as

SC grants bail to Nazmul Huda in bribe case

Staff Reporter :The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday granted bail to Barrister Nazmul Huda in a bribery case in which he was sentenced to four years imprisonment by the

Nine more killed in road accidents

Staff Reporter :At least nine more persons were killed and 40 others critically injured in separate road crashes across the country on Monday.In Noakhali, at least four people were