Several hundreds of Indian-Americans have turned up at the CNN head office in downtown, Chicago, in order to protest against a documentary, which they portrayed defaming Hinduism.
Bharat Barai, an eminent Indian-origin from Chicago, who attended the peaceful protest against the CNN, said that “the documentary aired by CNN portrayed Hinduism in a negative light. This is not, what Hinduism all about”.
Barai alleged that the documentary on Hindu religion produced by so-called special reporter Reza Aslan, showed the practices of five Aghori Babas.
"This was his picture of Hinduism projected to the world on CNN," said a protest letter distributed on the occasion.
"The grotesque practices of five individuals have nothing to do with Hinduism, they are not part of any Hindu scriptures or Hindu teachings," Barai said.
Several Hindu groups in the United States have held protests against the CNN after airing the documentary on March 5th, including in New York, Washington, Houston, Atlanta, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The protest at Chicago was the largest so far.
Indian-origin Media studies professor Vamsee Juluri called the show “reckless, racist and dangerously anti-immigrant”.
Pointing out dozens of inaccuracies, mistranslations and mis-characterizations in the documentary Juluri said, "It is one saddening reality that despite having had immigrants in America for so many decades now, a major news channel like CNN still cannot do better than the old Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom sort of story when it comes to India".
"Far from wanting to experience any spirituality within Hinduism, Reza Aslan seems to have gone to India only to confirm his Orientalist biases," said Chandrashekar Wagh from the Coalition Against Hinduphobia.
Reza Aslan, in his Facebook post tried to justify that the documentary was not about Hinduism, but about Aghori tribe, which is a Hindu sect known for extreme rituals.
He also said that many people are offended by the episode, especially when it comes to issues, such as caste discrimination, which remains a touchy subject for many Hindus in the United Sates.