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Police book Pondicherry University students for staging Ramayana play that 'outraged religious feelings'

The Kalapet Police have initiated legal proceedings against several students and others for allegedly "outraging religious sentiments" during a performance at the annual cultural event, Ezhini 2k24, held at Pondicherry University last week.

Police book Pondicherry University students for staging Ramayana play that 'outraged religious feelings' snt
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First Published Apr 1, 2024, 4:33 PM IST

The Kalapet Police have initiated legal proceedings against several students and others for allegedly "outraging religious sentiments" during a performance at the annual cultural event, Ezhini 2k24, held at Pondicherry University last week.

The police took action independently following a demonstration by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), on the campus on the night of March 30, 2024. ABVP members claimed that characters from the epic Ramayana were portrayed in a manner they deemed objectionable during a play titled Somayanam, which was presented as part of the festival organized by the Department of Performing Arts at Pondicherry University on March 29.

Also read: Outrage after Pondicherry University play shows Goddess Sita offering beef to Ravana, dancing with him (WATCH)

“We have registered a case against those involved, including the director and script writer, in staging the play. The Kalapet Police have started the inquiry,” a senior police officer was quoted as saying in The Hindu.

Meanwhile, Pondicherry University has initiated an internal investigation into the matter. “It is hereby informed that University has received a complaint against a play staged by students in the Department of Performing Arts. A committee is being constituted to investigate the matter,” the Registrar in-charge of the University said in a circular issued on Sunday.

The Registrar in-charge has also urged all parties involved to collaborate with the administration to uphold peace on the campus.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the ABVP criticized the organizers for portraying characters from the Ramayana in a manner they deemed "distorted and disrespectful." While supporting the principle of freedom of expression, the statement emphasized the importance of exercising this freedom responsibly.

While creative expression is encouraged, it should never be at the expense of hurting religious sentiments or fostering communal discord, it said.

The student body has called for the prompt dismissal of the playwright, director, and actors associated with the play. Additionally, they have demanded disciplinary measures against the Head of the Department.

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