Can Same-Sex Relationship Films Be Screened to Children, NCPCR Asks UNICEF, CBFC

The screening was organised for schools in West Bengal, in collaboration with UNICEF.

2 min read

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on Wednesday, 10 November, wrote to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) seeking details whether the eight movies depicting same-sex relationships had obtained the certification to be screened to children.

The screening was organised for schools in West Bengal, in collaboration with UNICEF partner Prayasam.

This comes days after the NCPCR wrote to the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to 'fix the anomalies' in the training manual to make school education more inclusive – with a focus on transgender and gender-nonconforming children.


What's the Controversy?

Citing news reports, and a complaint, NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said that the body wants to make sure that the content is 'not above board'.

“We have received a complaint regarding screening films dealing with same-sex relationships to a minor audience. We have sought details on whether they have received the necessary certification," Kanoongo told The Indian Express.

The letter has also been marked to Prasanta Roy, who is the director of Prayasam.

“We know NCPCR’s guidelines and… we cannot flout them. But we believe such films should be shown to young adolescents to stop bullying,” Roy told The Indian Express.

The movies, directed by Salim Shekh, Manish Chowdhury, Saptarshi Ray, and Avijit Marjit were to be screened to promote inclusiveness.

NCPCR's Letter to NCERT

On 2 November, the NCPCR wrote to the NCERT stating that it received various complaints over the manual. One of the complainants was Vinay Joshi, a former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) member, who alleged that the manual was a “criminal conspiracy... to psychologically traumatise school students under the name of gender sensitisation."

“The text of the manual suggests gender-neutral infrastructure for children that does not commensurate with their gender realities and basic needs. Also, the idea of creating and removing binaries shall deny them equal rights of children of diverse biological needs. Second, this approach will expose children to unnecessary psychological trauma due to contradictory environments at home and in school,” Kanoongo's letter said.

(With inputs from The Indian Express.)

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