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Mumbai: Policemen lathi charge film unit for playing loud music at noon!

Adding some unexpected drama to a movie shoot, a team of city cops — who are notorious for ignoring complaints about noise pollution — lathi-charged a unit of 200 staff members inside Filmistan Studio for playing loud music at noon on Monday. The unit members have alleged that the cops manhandled men and women of the production unit and took some of them to the police station, only to set them free eventually.

“It is a blatant violation of their powers. How can the cops go to such a criminal extent and beat up innocents, including women, for no reason?” questioned Vishal Tyagi, president of Movie Action Dummy Effects Association, who was part of the unit.


Getting the stick: Vishal Tyagi and Ram Yadav, members of the unit, were among those who faced the wrath of the cops. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Tyagi added, “The music was not loud enough to merit such action. Moreover, we were within the premises of the studio, which is private property. If they had queries pertaining to permissions for the shoot, they should have got in touch with the studio in-charge. What right did they have to beat up innocent unit members?”

The incident took place around 11.30 am on Monday, while Tyagi, along with 200 members of the unit were shooting a Holi sequence for a Tamil film starring South stars Ajith, Rana Daggubati and Nayanthara. Renowned director Vishnuvardhan is making the film.

‘Cut!’

The unit members alleged that two constables from Goregaon police station appeared at the spot and demanded to know if the unit had taken requisite permission for the shoot. “The staff politely informed them that the shoot was taking place within the premises of the studio and suggested that the studio in-charge be contacted with queries. But they refused to listen to the staff. When the constables disrupted the shoot, the staff members intervened, and this led to an argument. Taking offence, the constables informed their superiors over wireless,” said one of the crewmembers, who claimed that the cops had threatened him not to speak to the press.

Soon after this, two police cars full of cops arrived at the spot. The unit again tried to clarify their stand, but their efforts were in vain.

Ram Yadav, production unit member who was the first person to get assaulted by the cops, said, “I just asked the policemen why they had stopped us when we had all permissions in place. Not listening to me, they started hitting me with sticks.”

“Whoever came forward to stop the lathi-charge was beaten up by the cops. Even the women in the unit were not spared. Cops manhandled them too,” Tyagi added.

The crewmembers revealed that the cops forcibly took three of the staff members, including Vishal Tyagi, to Goregaon police station. They claim that even then, they had no clue what they had done wrong. At the station too, the crewmembers were humiliated and ribbed about their ethnicity, and not given a chance to speak, they alleged. After being detained for about 15-20 minutes, all of them were set free.

Section 110 of the bombay police act
Section 110 of the Bombay Police Act permits any policeman, including a constable, to book and arrest a person for ‘indecent behaviour in public’ if it occurs in his sight. The cop can levy a fine of Rs 1,200 on the detained person. If the accused is unable to produce it, they are to be produced in court the following day.

The other side

When contacted, Senior Police Inspector Arun Jadhav said, “They had misbehaved with us and the police staff was manhandled. We got two calls from the control room about loud music being played. Following this, we brought the staff to the police station and fined them under Section 110 of the Bombay Police Act.”

Counter-claim
Contrary to this, a staffer said that the charge was added only to cover up their action. “If the cops are claiming that we misbehaved with their staff, why were they not booked for assaulting government officers? At the time when they were rounded up at the police station, no action was taken on paper. The cops have also been threatening them not to go to the media,” he said. Tyagi said that none of them paid any kind of fine.   

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