RPI storm Star office; upset with Ekta , Smriti and 'Kyunkii..'

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MUMBAI: What's it with Kyunki... and the protest brigade? After women's groups, political activists have now taken up cudgels against Hindi entertainment television's top soap.

In a perplexing turn of events, the Republican Party of India (RPI) Ramdas Athawale faction today held demonstrations outside Star India's office in Mumbai's suburb of Andheri. The reason: to vent their anger against Kyunki's... lead protagonist Smriti Iraani aka Tulsi Virani and producer Ekta Kapoor of Balaji Telefilms.

The RPI activists were protesting what they termed an "insult to the Indian Constitution" (and by extension to Dalit icon and the man who penned this holy grail the late Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar) in an episode of Kyunkii which aired on 22 December. During this episode, Tulsi decried the fact that the Indian Constitution is ambiguous on the issue of marital rape.

Commenting on the development, Star India's executive vice president content Deepak Segal says, "The protest is essentially because they believe that the episode condemned the Constitution. Whereas the dialogue specifically referred to the fact that the constituted law does not address the issue of marital rape. There has been nothing said against the Constitution."

The RPI however has taken the dialogue in the serial amiss and seems very agitated. An upset RPI president (Andheri) Damodar Bodke told indiantelevision.com, "We want a written apology from Smriti Iraani and Ekta Kapoor. They have offended the Indian Constitution and in turn Baba Saheb Ambedkar. If a written statement is not issued, we will cause damage to Balaji Telefilms as well as ransack Smriti Iraani's house."

A group of RPI activists today raised slogans against the two outside the Star India office. And refused to allow any Star executives to leave the premises.

Balaji's creative director Ekta Kapoor, although appears unfazed by the high noon drama. Says she: "There cannot be any legal implications that they can impose. As far as the Indian Constitution is concerned, it also allows for freedom of speech. One is entitled to voice their opinion. Specially, on an issue like marital rape which is a heinous crime and is very ambiguous in the Indian law."

When asked about whether the episode condemned Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Kapoor says, "Absolutely not! Why will we ever insult a leader who has done so much for the nation? "

On the written apology front, Kapoor said that she was not in the wrong but she would be consulting her lawyer on the whole situation.

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