A day after right-wing Hindu activists in Indore gheraoed a police station demanding that organisers of the national conference of Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) be booked for sedition, the police have asked for video footage of performances and speeches at the event.
Hundreds of slogan-shouting activists had laid a siege outside the Vijay Nagar police station on Tuesday, alleging that the three-day event had provided a platform for “anti-national” activities. The protesters demanded that the organisers be booked for sedition and attempt to murder in connection with the alleged assault on three activists.
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On Tuesday afternoon, a group of activists had barged into an auditorium and disrupted the event while snatching a microphone from a speaker. One IPTA volunteer received head injuries, while three protesters alleged they were attacked by the organisers as they were pushed out of the venue.
Raising ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ slogans, the activists reportedly insisted that participants chant the same to prove their patriotism. The protesters were objecting to filmmaker M S Sathyu’s criticism of the Army’s surgical strikes in PoK. While inaugurating the three-day conference on Sunday, Sathyu had reportedly called the action “shameful”.
“We don’t need a certificate from anyone. We have the right to criticise the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister. I called (PM) Narendra Modi a bigger actor than Big B (Amitabh Bachchan). We are free to say what we want,’’ organising committee chairman Anand Mohan Mathur told The Indian Express Wednesday.
“An officer cautioned me that I would be subjected to an ink attack. I am not scared, let them go ahead,’’ said Mathur, describing the protesters as misguided youths. He, however, said that IPTA does not want to escalate the matter and has not pressed for registering a complaint against the protesters. Confirming that the organisers will provide video footage to the police, Mathur said, “Every day 10-12 performances took place. We are glad to provide the footage.’’
Additional SP Rakesh Singh said though two complaints had been received, no FIR has been registered in connection with either of them.