Bollywood writers enraged by Trump’s ‘anti-Muslim’ policies

Mumbai, Feb 4 (IANS) The Screenwriters Association (SWA) of Bollywood here on Saturday expressed shock and outrage at what it termed “a thinly disguised anti-Muslim” ban announced by new US President Donald Trump.

SWA President Preeti Mamgain said discriminating against people on the basis of country, region or religion that they were born into, amounts to a violation of their natural freedom of movement and their human rights.

“Such xenophobic policies create and reinforce suspicion and hate among people, thereby legitimating prejudice and even inciting violence by demonizing certain communities and nationalities,” Mamgain said in a strongly-worded SWA statement.

She said SWA stands in solidarity with their brother unions — the Writers Guilds of America (East and West) and their screenwriting members — which have publicly taken an unequivocal position, protesting and opposing the ban policies.

The Writers Guild of America East (WGAE), New York President Michael Winship and Writers Guild of America West (WGAW), Los Angeles President Howard A. Rodman have released a joint statement condemning the recent order by President Trump.

“It is both unconstitutional and deeply wrong to say that you cannot enter our country because of where you were born or what religion you were born into,” the WGAE and WGAW said, applauding the federal court’s stay on deporting people being held at US airports to their countries.

The two guilds are also perturbed over reports that Asghar Farhadi, the 44-year-old Iranian director of the acclaimed 2016 film “The Salesman” — nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category — may be prevented from attending the awards ceremony later this year.

Iran is among the countries whose citizens are temporarily banned by a US executive order from entering that country.

“From its early days, the entertainment industry has been built by the imagination of immigrants. Our guilds are unions of storytellers who have always welcomed those from other nations of varying beliefs who wish to share their creativity with US. We are grateful to them, we stand with them, and we will fight for them,” the guilds’ joint statement added.

National Award winning lyricist-writer Swanand Kirkire and SWA executive member slammed Trump’s move saying: “It’s time that those who don’t believe in hate politics come together and speak now. Until we do that, the politicians will keep playing with the fate of the humanity.”

Renowned film writer Anjum Rajabali said the divisive positions and hate propaganda that Trump resorted to during his election campaign are now delivering on those shocking promises.

“While it is shocking, it isn’t surprising. Unless voices of protest are heard loudly and repeatedly, each time such moves are made, our freedoms will shrink until they disappear,” Rajabali warned.