Much to dismay of the public,the Yerawada jail authorities,on Thursday,postponed the cultural show of its inmates,including 1992 serial blast convict actor Sanjay Dutt. The show was to take place on Thursday aftertoon and all tickets were sold out even though each ticket cost Rs 1,000. The jail officials cited security reasons for the sudden move. The jial department has started returning te money collected from the ticket sale.
Yerawada jai superintendent Yogesh Desai said,We had to postpone the programme beacause of some security reasons,which I cannot specify at this point of time. But the show will definitely take place. As of now we are returning the money we had collected from ticket sale.
He said the tickets were being returned because the venue might change and with it the seating arrangement. We might stage the programme at a different venue,which will have a different capacity and seating arrangement. We will issue different tickets then, he said.
The tickets for the show to be staged at the Balgandharva Rangamandir Auditorium were sold out after many social organisations and citizens group bought them in bulk. The programme,conceived and scripted by the jail inmates,was to feature Dutt in a skit and some dance numbers.
Jail officials had said that the money collected from the ticket sale would be used for prisoner and jail staff welfare. However,state prisons department head,Meeran Borwankar,announced in a press conference on Thursday noon that the programme was postponed and said that the new date and venue will be conveyed soon.
The show for which the main theme was culture and traditions of Maharashtra and their relevance in the changing times,was to be attended by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and some other Cabinet members. The local police had deployed heavy bandobast at the venue. Borwankar refused to divulge any further information. Some police officials speculated that the show was called due to a confusion over an accused in Shakti Mill rape case in the court due to communication lapse by the jail officials in Thane. The accused was untraceable for some time. All the jail officials however denied that this was the reason behind cancellation of the progarmme.
Stir against dutt,cops use force
Though the show featuring Sanjay Dutt was postponed,members of Hindu Rashtra Sena staged a protest outside the venue. The police had to resort to minor lathicharge. At around 3 pm over 100 members of the Hindu Rashtra Sena gathered outside Bangandharva Rangamandir. Senior police officers at the spot told the agitators that the show was postponed. The police also told them to
disperse. But the mob started burning posters of Sanjay Dutt in front of police chowki adjacent to the venue. We had to resort to mild use of force to control the mob. A case will also be registered against the members of Hindu Rashtra Sena, said an officer of the Deccan Gymkhana police station.
Some members of Hindu Rashtra Sena have given a complaint to Deccan Gymkhana police station against the policemen who lathicharged on the mob.
Prisons Dept head Meeran Borwankar had said 80 per cent of the money collected from ticket sale was to be used for prisoners welfare and the rest for welfare of jail staff.
51 Yerawada jail inmates,convicts,undertrials and a few women prisoners,were part of the programme crew,which was recently named Timiratuni Tejakade (from darkness to light)
The rights to broadcast the programme was given to Marathi channel of Doordarshan,DD Sahyadri,Borwankar said. The money
earned from royalty will be added to the welfare funds.