Members of a Mumbai-based theatre group have alleged that they were targeted and harassed by police in a Pune hotel because one of them was a Muslim.
According to members of the Qissa Kothi group, the incident took place in the early hours of Thursday, when Yash Khan and rest of the male members of the group were fast asleep in their room. Two police personnel rang the bell of their room, they said.
“I opened the door and there was a policeman standing in front of me, along with the caretaker of the hotel and another policeman. The first thing the policeman said was, ‘Yash Khan kaun hai? Yash Khan tum ho? (Who is Yash Khan? Are you Yash Khan?)” said Khan.
When Khan replied in the affirmative, the policemen allegedly entered the room and started to search through their belongings.
He said the policeman asked for his ID, and asked how the men in the room know each another and why they were in Pune. Another policeman who was searching Khan’s bed allegedly told his senior, “There is nothing here,” after which they left.
Qissa Kothi was in Pune to perform its latest play, Romeo Ravidas and Juliet Devi, which retells the William Shakespeare classic with a contemporary edge to highlight issues of love and freedom.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Smeeta Patil of Pimpri-Chinchwad Police said, “Following the security alert for Independence Day, several hotels, lodges and other important locations under all police stations in Pimpri Chinchwad commissionerate were checked by police as preventive action. Nobody from any particular community was harassed. These are random security checks due to security alerts on important occasions…”