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‘Parody of historical figures, legends wrong, condemnable’: Savitribai Phule Pune University on play by its students mocking Lord Ram and Goddess Sita

The offensive portrayal of Lord Ram and Goddess Sita was strongly objected to by the members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and students from Lalit Kala Kendra

On Saturday (February 3), the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) issued a statement condemning the mockery of Lord Ram and Goddess Sita by the varsity students in a play.

“Some of the content/speech in the presentation of the said drama is seen to be objectionable. It is understood that there was a verbal argument between the students regarding this. After this, the security personnel intervened and the police were called and a complaint was filed. Legal action is being taken by the police administration. It is the role of the university to ensure that no one takes the law into their own hands. Parody of any person, legend or historical figure is completely wrong and prohibited,” SPPU stated in its press release.

The SPPU administration said that a fact-finding committee has been formed to probe the matter and that further action will be taken based on the committee’s findings.

“We have received letters from various organisations mentioning that due to the incident religious sentiments were hurt. A truth-finding committee under a retired district judge has been appointed. After a detailed report of the committee, the university will take necessary administrative actions in the case,” SPPU stated.

As reported earlier, a professor and 5 students were arrested for mocking Lord Ram and Goddess Sita with abusive dialogues in a play titled ‘Jab We Met’ staged by the Lalit Kala Kendra, a centre for performing arts affiliated with Pune University. The professor, Dr Pravin Bhole, and five students were accused of offending religious sentiments through objectionable dialogues and scenes in the play based on ‘Ramleela’.

The offensive portrayal of Lord Ram and Goddess Sita was strongly objected to by the members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and students from Lalit Kala Kendra. The play centred around the backstage banter of actors in ‘Ramleela’, depicted a male artist portraying Sita smoking a cigarette and using abusive language.

Following a complaint by ABVP functionary Harshvardhan Harpude, a case was registered under section 295 (A) of the Indian Penal Code, dealing with deliberate and malicious intent to outrage religious feelings. The arrested individuals include Dr Pravin Bhole and students Bhavesh Patil, Jay Pednekar, Prathamesh Sawant, Rishikesh Dalvi, and Yash Chikhle.

The six accused persons were brought before a court in Pune on Saturday. The court remanded them to the magistrate’s custody. The accused later applied for bail.

Harpude’s counsel, Shivam Potdar, argued that the accused’s bail should be rejected, noting the possibility of inciting violence by hurting sensibilities through the offensive play. However, the judge granted bail to the accused, Indian Express reported. Advocate Potdar said the accused persons have been asked to report to the police station twice a week.

Harshwardhan Harpude, a Pune ABVP leader, filed a complaint at the Chaturshringi Police Station on Friday night, objecting to Lord Ram and Sita’s depiction in the play Jab We Met. Several ABVP workers, including Harpude, allegedly disrupted the play performance on Friday night. The FIR states that Harpude and others were allegedly manhandled by several Lalit Kala Kendra students and the actors of the play when they raised objections over the mockery of Hindu Gods.

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OpIndia Staff
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