Lucknow: After months of stalking and harassment by a serial caller, police finally came to the aid of reporters of women-run news network Khabar Lahariya in Uttar Pradesh.
In a press conference here, Khabar Lahariya editor Kavita said after orders from senior officials, police in Banda in the state’s Bundelkhand region took action to trace and capture the accused.
Kavita said the action was delayed yet they appreciated police’s prompt and sensitive action.
Meera, the chief of operations, said there was a need for systems of security like the 1090 helpline to be more efficient and accountable as well the as environment to report cases of harassment.
Since January this year, five members of the publication were repeatedly harassed by an unknown caller, who identified himself as Nishu.
Despite a complaint, the matter, according to Kavita, was not taken seriously and brushed off as an ‘ordinary’ case until orders from higher officials.
The accused, Saddam alias Nishu, was arrested on Tuesday, shortly after orders from the state government.
Uttar Pradesh Police chief Jagan Mohan Yadav said changing mindsets in local police stations was the ‘challenge’.
“Many efforts are being done for women’s safety, such as the 1090 helpline. The challenge is in changing mindsets in police stations in the districts,” the director general of police said in a statement.
Uttar Pradesh is emerging as the new Bollywood destination as A-listers have opted to shoot their films in the state and filmmakers are also busy exploring virgin locations. Officials say that the film-friendly policies and favourable conditions have envinced interest in shooting in the state.
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan is already shooting in the state capital for his upcoming movie, “Gulabo Sitabo”. Popular films like “Raid”, “Bareilly ki Barfi”, “Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana” and “Toilet Ek Prem Katha” were also shot in Uttar Pradesh.
The much-loved films like “Mukti Bhawan”, “Masaan”, “Ranjhana”, “Laga Chunri Mein Daag” and “Bunty Aur Babli” were shot in Varanasi. Karan Johar’s much-awaited film “Brahmastra” is also being shot in Varanasi. According to Principal Secretary Information and Tourism, Avanish Awasthi, Uttar Pradesh provides most favourable conditions and resources for film production.
“We offer subsidy if the film fulfils the set criteria and we make sure that the film units get all security and assistance. We have got approval for 21 films by the Script Examination Committee which means there will be more shooting in Uttar Pradesh in the coming months,” he said.
The state government has also formed a committee in every district called the ‘Film Facilitation Committee’ which can be contacted at the time of any problem or any inconvenience. If the problem is not resolved then film producers-directors can contact ‘Film-Bandhu’ division for any assistance.
Lucknow, in particular, has been a favourite for film makers. The state capital has plenty of ‘havelis’ and palatial bungalows that add to the charm of storytelling on screen and the new memorials and parks that have come up are also an attraction for film makers.
In several cases, the owners of these locations have not charged a penny for shooting. The only ‘charge’ is a photograph with the stars or an invitation to a meal.
Earlier, Akshay Kumar had shot extensively in Lucknow for “Jolly LLB 2”. “Lucknow Central”, “Ishaqzaade” and “Dawat-e-Ishq” were set in the backdrop of Lucknow. John Abraham’s upcoming “Batla House” is another Lucknow based film. The critically acclaimed movie “Mulk” was also shot in the city of Nawabs.
D.K. Singh, who works as a Liaison Officer cum arranger for film units, said: “The government has come up with film-friendly policies and even the bureaucracy is going easy with permissions. Residents no longer go berserk on seeing film stars and there is a definite ease in crowd management. The atmosphere in general is more relaxed and film makers get a good mix of urban as well as rural location in and around Lucknow. Besides, there are innumerable hotels in the state capital that suit every budget.”
The biggest factor which is drawing filmmakers to the state is that in recent years, there has been no major law and order problem related to film and its subject.
Earlier, shooting of films like “Gadar- Ek Prem Katha” was temporarily stalled because some Muslim clerics objected to some of the names mentioned in the film. The unit of Deepa Mehta’s “Water” had to leave Varanasi without shooting even a single frame because the residents objected to the subject of widow remarriage. (IANS)