From a press release from Rakesh Sharma, documentary filmmaker.
Internationally-acclaimed film-maker Rakesh Sharma today released his latest films for previews in Gujarat. The two new films Khedu Mora Re and Chet’ta Rejo have been researched over the last couple of years and shot during the last 8 months. Speaking about his new films, Rakesh Sharma said – “Ever since I started showing Final Solution around, many people urged me to do follow-up films as well. I wanted to go beyond highlighting the events of 2002 and the State and Sangh Parivar’s complicity, which by now has been well-documented, especially after the Tehelka expose . These films are also in the nature of my response as a member of civil society to Mr. Modi and his propaganda .”
Chet’ta Rejo (72 minutes):
The back cover of the CD itself contextualizes the film – the saffronisation of the Dalit-OBC population and its consequent plight! The film looks specifically at the patterns of arrests and litigation since 2002. A majority of those charged with rioting, arson, murder etc are either tribals or Dalits and OBCs. An analysis of those arrested from 32 police stations in Ahmedabad suggests that of the 1577 detainees, only 30-odd were upper caste! Are these foot soldiers victims too? Cynically recruited, then discarded, left to rot in jails, what do the ‘perpetrators of the violence feel today about the VHP and the BJP?
The film has several personal portraits and conversations. Among the points that emerge:
1. 6-8 families of S-6 passengers who died speak of how they were told people were going for a picnic tour, certainly not any karseva, that the VHP-BJP exploited their tragedy for electoral gains in 2002, how ever since then no one has come to help, how monies raised in their name never reached them…and how some of them who spoke in public about it have been threatened by the VHP!
2. VHP made tall promises to help the detained and the injured Hindutva cadre, but barring some rations and monetary help in the first month or two, not much came. The VHP/BJP combine simply vanished. A telling story is Kanti and Deepak’s account from Gomtipur – both shot by the police, both appealed to the BJP for help (incl the CM) but got nothing. When they went to Togadia’s own Dhanvantri hospital for operations/ treatment, they were turned away, asked to bring a deposit of Rs 50,000 first!
3. Cops don’t arrest the upper castes. They come and take away Dalits/OBCs – any men they can find in the area. The men are normally told to come along for haziri but then booked formally. Women in such families speak of the subsequent harassment and hardships.
4. Dalits ask why violence is engineered in their areas, and not in the posh upper caste areas? They ask a series of searching, probing questions and offer their own analyses throughout the film.
5. Dalit elders speak of how the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya doesn’t mean much to them, as they can not even enter the mandir in their own villages – upper castes prevent them from doing so till today!
7. An OBC Hindu boy and a Muslim boy, both friends, used to play cricket together in Behrampura. During the riots, both lost their right hands to bombs during the riots! The film ends with both of them appealing to the youth not to join such parties or get involved in such violence as no one lifts a finger to help while it is them and their families who will suffer forever.
The overall message that emerges through a range of voices – violence and politics of hate destroys the Dalit-OBC-Muslim communities; it is best to stay away from parties that preach hate.