Taking cognizance of local intelligence reports, the Muzaffarnagar SSP Friday ordered the lodging of an FIR against a man, who claims to be a Shiv Sena worker, and his unidentified aides on charges of stopping actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui from performing in a Ram Leela, reportedly because he is a Muslim. Police claimed that Nawazuddin was contacted several times over the matter, but he refused to lodge a complaint.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Muzaffarnagar SSP Deepak Kumar said an FIR has been filed at Budhana police station against one Mukesh Sharma, who claims to be a Sena member, and his 20-25 aides. “The FIR, lodged under Section 153-A (promoting enmity on grounds of religion etc and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), has been filed by police. The actor refused to lodge any complaint, despite repeated requests,” added the SSP.
Siddiqui, who hails from Budhana, was visiting his hometown on a vacation. He had got in touch with the Ramlila committee and expressed his wish to be a part of the production. He was about to play the role of Ravana’s uncle Mareech. But, hours before the performance, some people, claiming to be Shiv Sena members, allegedly threatened him and asked him not to perform because he was a Muslim and he allegedly had a criminal case pending against him.
Damodar Prasad Sharma, president of the Ramlila committee, said, “A few members of the Shiv Sena didn’t want a Muslim man to play a character in Ram Leela. Police told us that we should not let Nawazuddin participate and, if we do, and there is a problem during the show, we will have to take responsibility. We were not ready for that. There were too many people in the audience. We couldn’t have controlled the crowd.”
Denying the allegations of the Ramlila committee president, the SSP claimed that police was willing to provide security. He personally called up Nawazuddin and urged him to perform, but he refused, claimed the SSP. “Even MP Sanjeev Baliyan spoke to him and promised him support, but he denied,” said Kumar.
“They should have approached us two days before the event, but they did not. Still, we sent 25 policemen to the venue,” said SHO, Budhana, D K Tyagi. Muzaffarnagar MP Sanjeev Baliyan told The Indian Express that he met Nawazuddin Thursday and asked him to perform, but the actor said he was leaving in the evening to shoot for a film. “He said he will perform next year,” said Balyan.