Ludhiana: In a veiled attack on BJP, Union Minister Manish Tewari today claimed Punjabi farmers are being threatened and coerced to move out of Gujarat by the "fascist forces" who are in power there. The Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting warned against the fascist forces, saying they pose a threat to free thinking and cultural development in the country.
"Freedom of thought and expression and the cultural development are always the first target of such forces," the Ludhiana MP said.
He was addressing a function after inaugurating the studio and programme services of the Ludhiana FM Gold here today.
"Punjabi farmers in Gujarat are being threatened and coerced to move out by the fascist forces who are in power there, despite various courts having ruled in their favour," Tewari said.
He appealed to people to ensure that such forces are not allowed to raise their head. A place like Punjab, particularly Ludhiana, which has produced great artists like Sahir Ludhiana should feel more concerned about the rise of such forces whose first target will be free thinking, the minister said.
Tewari also asked the Punjab government to come out with a proposal for facilitating the setting up of Punjabi film industry "anywhere in Punjab".
"We don`t mind even if they set it up in Bathinda, as long as it is in Punjab," Tewari remarked in his characteristic satirical style, with an oblique reference to the Akalis` reported "obsession" to take all the development projects to Bathinda.
Making out a strong case for producing Punjabi films in the state only, he pointed out, like the Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Malyalam, Kanda and Bangla movies are made in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Thiruananthpuram, Bangalore and Kolkota respectively, there is no reason as why Punjabi films should not be produced in Punjab.
Tewari said that his ministry will provide all the support required in setting up the Punjabi film industry in the state.
"If Punjab government takes an initiative, the ministry can consider setting up the regional Film Censor Board in Chandigarh that will cater to the regional, particularly the needs of the Punjabi cinema," he said.
Speaking about the Ludhiana FM Gold, he said, it was only the first in the country after the five metro cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkota and Bangalore.
He said, his efforts will be to make it the first regional 24 hour FM channel, which will provide a platform to aspiring Punjabi artistes.
Several farmers from Punjab and Haryana, who had shifted to Gujarat, fear that they would displaced from the state.
In 2010, Kutch Collector invoked the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act of 1948 and froze the accounts of an unspecified number of non-Gujarati farmers.
The affected farmers moved the High Court and got relief from the Court in 2012, but the Gujarat government moved the apex court challenging the relief.