An Indian government agency for protecting child rights has asked Netflix Inc to immediately stop streaming its new drama series Bombay Begums after it reviewed complaints around scenes showing children consuming drugs.
According to details, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), in a letter to Netflix, asked the streaming giant to investigate the matter and submit a report within 24 hours or face further action.
The NCPCR took action based on a complaint which alleged that the series normalises minors indulging in casual sex and drug abuse and objected to a scene showing “minors having cocaine”.
“The series with this type of content will not only pollute the young minds of children, and may also result in abuse and exploitation of children,” the NCPCR notice said, adding “Netflix should take extra precaution while streaming any content in respect of the children or for the children and shall also refrain from getting into such things,” the commission said in its notice.
Netflix did not respond to a request for comment.
Featuring Pooja Bhatt, Shahana Goswami, Amruta Subhash, Plabita Borthakur and Aadhya Anand, Bombay Begums is a series about five women from different parts of society trying to get ahead in modern Mumbai, formerly called Bombay.
The controversy is the latest to hit video streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in India, where they have faced complaints also around promoting obscenity or hurting religious sentiments. Industry executives say such complaints go against freedom of speech and expression in the country.
A member of India’s ruling party’s youth wing last year lodged a police complaint against Netflix objecting to scenes in the series A Suitable Boy showing a Hindu girl kissing a Muslim boy against the backdrop of a Hindu temple.
Several users on Friday tweeted their objections and support for the new Netflix show, making #BombayBegums a top trend on the microblogging website.
“If your child is influenced to do drugs by scenes in which a young girl does cocaine … You need to talk to your child, not the show,” Twitter user Sahir said.