Birmingham-based Sikh Channel received a letter from Ofcom about the drama film they aired entitled “Misused Trust”.
The broadcasting regulatory authority had received a complaint about the 50-minute drama, which revolved around the story of young female Sikh student named Japneet by a Muslim man called Abdul.
Ofcom’s letter referred to a particular scene in the film which shows Japneet sat in the lounge of a Sikh Youth UK safe house. A text message is then seen on-screen with the words, “SMS Juggy Chacha. Some boys have hurt Japneet penji. We have to teach them a lesson.”
Moments after, retaliatory action is shown with the abusers of Japneet being attacked including one man being bundled into the boot of a vehicle. Meanwhile men armed with a baseball bat, knives and an axe can be seen forcing their way into the home of another alleged abuser named Abdul and holding him down.
“We are concerned that the portrayal of the vigilante attack on “Abdul’s” house may have been interpreted by viewers as condoning such attacks and representing attacks carried out by members of Sikh Youth UK.”
In the letter to the channel, Ofcom claim that the film, made by Kaldip Singh of Sikh Youth UK, suggested sexual assaults should not be reported to the authorities but “but rather should be referred to the Sikh community for action.”
They added, “The complainant felt this advocated retaliatory violence as acceptable.”
Ofcom also mentioned a discussion scene of approximately 8 minutes which took place post-film. They said that “potentially offensive” references to the Muslim community were made with regards to those involved in sexual attacks on Sikh females.
The Sikh Channel has been given a deadline of 5pm on August 16th to respond to the the complaint.
Producer Kaldip Singh claimed that the film was fiction and was neither encouraging sectarianism or violence.
“It is just a film with people acting. We are not saying people should take the law into their own hands but we are telling them to contact us if they suspect grooming is happening.”
Mr Singh said that the reason the film, which aired May 20th at 8:30pm, did not include a scene in which victims are advised to go to the police was because “it would have cost an extra £5,000 to make it.”
“Of course, if the victim is underage or has been raped then they should go to police but our experience shows that in the past the authorities have ignored the problem of Sikh girls being groomed by Muslim men in this country for more than 40 years,” added the producer.
This isn’t the first time the Sikh Channel has been accused of potentially calling for a separatist society and an independent homeland for Sikhs in India. Previously they admitted airing footage of a debate in which speakers “appeared to call for Sikhs to “set up their own economies” and “paramilitaries in the UK” as a mistake.
Ofcom said that the film had potentially broken broadcasting rules “because it arose from material which glorified acts of murder and involved proposals that Sikhs in the UK should consider now making preparations for some form of “armed conflict” in the future, without sufficient contextual justification.”