• by: Raj Barot
  • recipient: Elaine Charnov, Director, Public Programs and Artistic Director,, American Museum of Natural History
The screenings of films by noted filmmaker Anand Patwardhan has yet again come under attack by right-wing "Hindu" organizations and individuals based in the US. Most recently, two of Patwardhan's films: "We are not your Monkeys" and "In the Name of God" were cancelled at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York due to "threats of violence." The objective of this petition is to request the AMNH to screen Patwardhan's films at the AMNH (with police protection if necessary) rather than succumbing to "threats of violence" by right-wing "Hindu" organizations and individuals based in the US.

Although the initial recipients of this petition will be the American Museum of Natural History in New York, this petition will continue to be re-used whenever the screenings of films by Patwardhan come under attack by those who seek to curb free speech and prevent public debate regarding the issues raised by Patwardhan's films in the future.

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Sign Now and protect our freedom of expression!

We, the undersigned, express our support and solidarity for documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan and his attempts to raise issues of vital concern for those within and outside South Asia.

Patwardhan has been making socio-political documentaries for nearly
three decades and has received numerous awards worldwide. His films have addressed a vast array of issues affecting peace and prosperity within South Asia- nuclear proliferation, communal politics, religious fanaticism, globalization, environmental
degradation, and caste oppression- and have served to facilitate further public debate and scrutiny regarding these issues.

In this regard, it has come our attention that various groups and organizations claiming to represent the
interests of the Hindu community have launched a campaign to oppose the screening of Patwardhan’s films in the US and abroad as several of his films are very critical of the right wing “Hindu” movement in India.

We believe that religion and politics should remain open to public debate and scrutiny, and that Patwardhan’s films serve a valuable function in fostering that debate and deserve to be screened. We, therefore, urge institutions and organizers of film screenings in the US and abroad to resist the efforts by those who wish to silence the debate and to carry on in their efforts to make the films of Anand Patwardhan accessible to the public.
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