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IPTA cancels theatre-event following opposition from Bajrang Dal

Members of the extremist group opposed two plays to be enacted in the event despite never having watched them; IPTA claims police ignored pleas for help

Sabrangindia 01 Mar 2021

Hindutva

The Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) on February 27, 2021 cancelled its five-day theatre festival in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh following strong opposition from the right-wing group Bajrang Dal, organisers told the Indian Express.

While the ITPA claimed COVID-19 as the reason for the cancellation, organisers said that Bajrang Dal members were against two plays scheduled to play during the event namely, ‘Jaat Hi Pucho Sadhu Ki’ and ‘Besharma Mev Jayate.’

‘Jaat hi Pucho Sadhu Ki’ is a Hindi translation of Padma Bhushan awardee Vijay Tendulkar’s Marathi play ‘Pahije Jatiche.’ The play talks about a poor and over-educated teacher in rural India who has lost the ability to “hold a baton for occasional resistance” after holding a pen for so long. It was formerly performed at the Khajuraho festival and in Tikamgarh district. The other play is a set of four satirical stories that comment on social evils prevailing in society.

Angered by the contents of these plays, the Hindutva organisation wrote to the sub-divisional magistrate on Saturday stating that the play angered “the entire fraternity of culture and religious lovers”. They demanded that the festival be stopped and asked for immediate withdrawal of its permission to work in a public auditorium.

The letter warned that if the administration did not act, the Bajrang Dal will “hold a furious protest, for which the district administration will be responsible.” Bajrang Dal’s Chhatarpur in-Charge Surendra Shivhare said they inferenced the contents of the plays from their title. He asserted that the group will continue to protest such programmes and if they are not stopped, Shivhare said members have their own system to handle it.

Meanwhile, IPTA’s District in-Charge Devendra Khushwaha said that he first received a call from the Bajrang Dal on February 7 wherein the person objected to the public-funded plays despite never having watched them. Similarly, IPTA State General Secretary Shivendra Shukla alleged that local police did not assure protection to artists or the festival. He also wrote to the SDM’s office but received no response.

“The SP [Superintendent of Police] asked us to sort out the issue with those opposing the programme without any assurance of protection,” Shukla alleged.

However, Chhatarpur SP Sachin Sharma said the organisers cancelled the festival on their own despite being assured police protection. Meanwhile, the Chhatarpur Collector declined to comment on the incident.

Related:

Hindu Nationalism: From genesis to present ruling dispensation

Why is Bajrang Dal troubled by Christmas celebrations?

Facebook yet to take action against Bajrang Dal due to safety concerns: WSJ

Assam Bajrang Dal leader threatens Hindus going to Church on Christmas

IPTA cancels theatre-event following opposition from Bajrang Dal

Members of the extremist group opposed two plays to be enacted in the event despite never having watched them; IPTA claims police ignored pleas for help

Hindutva

The Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) on February 27, 2021 cancelled its five-day theatre festival in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh following strong opposition from the right-wing group Bajrang Dal, organisers told the Indian Express.

While the ITPA claimed COVID-19 as the reason for the cancellation, organisers said that Bajrang Dal members were against two plays scheduled to play during the event namely, ‘Jaat Hi Pucho Sadhu Ki’ and ‘Besharma Mev Jayate.’

‘Jaat hi Pucho Sadhu Ki’ is a Hindi translation of Padma Bhushan awardee Vijay Tendulkar’s Marathi play ‘Pahije Jatiche.’ The play talks about a poor and over-educated teacher in rural India who has lost the ability to “hold a baton for occasional resistance” after holding a pen for so long. It was formerly performed at the Khajuraho festival and in Tikamgarh district. The other play is a set of four satirical stories that comment on social evils prevailing in society.

Angered by the contents of these plays, the Hindutva organisation wrote to the sub-divisional magistrate on Saturday stating that the play angered “the entire fraternity of culture and religious lovers”. They demanded that the festival be stopped and asked for immediate withdrawal of its permission to work in a public auditorium.

The letter warned that if the administration did not act, the Bajrang Dal will “hold a furious protest, for which the district administration will be responsible.” Bajrang Dal’s Chhatarpur in-Charge Surendra Shivhare said they inferenced the contents of the plays from their title. He asserted that the group will continue to protest such programmes and if they are not stopped, Shivhare said members have their own system to handle it.

Meanwhile, IPTA’s District in-Charge Devendra Khushwaha said that he first received a call from the Bajrang Dal on February 7 wherein the person objected to the public-funded plays despite never having watched them. Similarly, IPTA State General Secretary Shivendra Shukla alleged that local police did not assure protection to artists or the festival. He also wrote to the SDM’s office but received no response.

“The SP [Superintendent of Police] asked us to sort out the issue with those opposing the programme without any assurance of protection,” Shukla alleged.

However, Chhatarpur SP Sachin Sharma said the organisers cancelled the festival on their own despite being assured police protection. Meanwhile, the Chhatarpur Collector declined to comment on the incident.

Related:

Hindu Nationalism: From genesis to present ruling dispensation

Why is Bajrang Dal troubled by Christmas celebrations?

Facebook yet to take action against Bajrang Dal due to safety concerns: WSJ

Assam Bajrang Dal leader threatens Hindus going to Church on Christmas

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