Hundreds of followers of the sect staged a protest rally in the city today and submitted a memorandum to the District Collector demanding immediate apology from Balaji Telefilms, producer Ekta Kapoor and actress Suvarna Jha playing Tripti Virani. They also sought assurance that such things would not be repeated.
The rally, led by the priests of the sect, began from Haveli (Vaishnav) sects temple located at Kalwa Chowk and marched through the city’s main thoroughfare.
A large number of followers from nearby towns and villages also took part.
Prominent businessman and a follower of the sect, Arvind Soni, said, “A derogatory remark made against the deity (Thakorji) in the serial is highly objectionable. It is very shocking. We will not tolerate this. She (Ekta Kapoor) has hurt our sentiments.”
He added, “Vaishnav will intensify our agitation against her and initiate legal action, if she does not apologise.”
Followers said the Gujarati culture has provided a platform and boost to the Balaji serials, but instead of respecting it, she is trying to hurt Gujarat and its pride.
They alleged that “it seems that she is doing this intentionally to improve the TRP of the serial”. Priests and followers of other Hindu sects also supported Vaishnavs over the issue and criticised Ekta Kapoor.
In a statement, the president of All India Sadhu Samaj (Gujarat chapter), Mahant Gopalanand appealed to the people to oppose this by saying that the “remarks made against Thakorji have hurt the sentiments of entire Hindu society.”
Mahant added, “Thakorji is the name of Lord Krishna, who is the centre point of the Hindu religion and belief. TV serials—aired on different channels— have been indulged in wrongful display of Hindu culture and society.”
Ekta Kapoor apologises
Ekta Kapoor tendered her apology to the Vaishnav community late on Saturday night. “I am extremely apologetic that my show Kyunki ... carried such an uncaring and distasteful statement about Thakorji , even though it was through a negative character. I request the Vaishnav society to forgive us, as it was not intentional. One of the avatars of Krishna is Balaji, which is also the name of our company. We ourselves believe in Vaishnav faith and will do nothing in the future to harm Vaishnavs’ sentiments again,” said a release by Strategic Media Services, PR firm for Balaji Telefilms.