Bajrang Dal activists in Karnataka recently barged into an auditorium and forced a play to stop. While no FIR has been registered so far, the theatre group has said it will stage the show again on Wednesday and also submit a police complaint.
The incident took place in Anavatti, Shivamogga district, on Sunday. Sridhar Achar, a Bajrang Dal member from Shivamogga, said they disrupted the play because “it featured Muslim characters and was being performed in a Veerashaiva marriage hall”.
Rangabelaku, a theatre group, was staging Jotegiruvanu Chandira, a play by well- known writer and lyricist Jayant Kaikini. It is a Kannada adaptation of American musical ‘Fiddler on the Roof’.
Kotrappa G Hiremagadi, a senior member of the Rangabelaku team, said, “The play began around 7.45 pm. Around 9.30 pm, a group of Bajrang Dal members barged in and forced us to stop. Despite several requests from us to allow us to continue, the activists didn’t budge, and started shouting slogans.”
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A senior police officer from Anavatti police station confirmed no case had been registered regarding the issue.
Hiremagadi said they have decided to reschedule the show on Wednesday and invite local MLAs, MPs and other elected representatives to watch it. “In protest, we, along with people who love art and theatre, have decided to give a complaint to the deputy commissioner of the district and Superintendent of Police on Wednesday. We will request that such incidents not happen again, and that we get protection to hold the play.”
Hiremagadi said the theatre group had been performing the play for the past several years in various parts of the state, but had “never faced such issues”. Sridhar Achar, however, defended the Bajrang Dal’s act and said the play would not be allowed in the hall.
Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah termed the development an “act of cultural terrorism” by RSS affiliates, adding that the state should arrest all miscreants involved.
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