Sending a notice, police stated that while the festival of Bonalu is going on, “a play like ‘Jihaad’ is not advisable.”

Fearing violence Hyderabad cops force organisers to cancel play titled Jihaad
news Controversy Tuesday, July 23, 2019 - 16:02

A play titled Jihaad - A Seldom Love Story scheduled on Sunday 7.30 pm had to be cancelled, after the Banjara Hills police sent a notice to Lamakaan — the venue, fearing violence. Police stated that while the festival of Bonalu is ongoing, “a play like Jihaad is not advisable.”  

Police claimed that the play could create law and order situation in the city. 

The organisers describe Jihaad as a love story between a Hindu middle class girl and a reserved Muslim boy who suppresses his identity in college. “The story also deals with the bomb blast, riots, political issues, communalism, terrorism, fascism, myths, intolerance and patriotism,” the synopsis adds. 

On Saturday, after checking the event, police sent a notice which read, “This is the festival season of Bonalu, going on till the end of the month of July, 2019. People in large numbers will congregate near temples and also take out processions. In view of prevailing situation, organising a play like Jihaad is not advisable, as a small untoward incident can cause disturbance to the public order and peaceful environment of Hyderabad city which is being maintained all these years.” (sic)

Speaking to TNM, the play’s director Suhas Barve said, “There is nothing controversial about the play. It is a story which happens in the backdrop of Mumbai riots. The title of the play could have alarmed the police. They said that some miscreants could create a scene, and as a precautionary measure asked us to postpone it until the Bonalu ends, which we oblige. We respect their views.”

The show has been now postponed to August 1. 

Amar Sankrit, one of the actors in the play said, “A lot of people had booked their tickets and turned up on that day for the play; we had to apologise to them, and ask them to come back on August 1 or else take a refund. We were practising for nearly two months for the play and when it got cancelled, we were a bit disappointed.”

This is the second time in less than a month that the police have disrupted the events held at Lamakaan. Lamakaan is a cultural space where free thinkers and activists gather to express their political views. 

On June 27, police disrupted a talk ‘Fascism is still Resistable’ reportedly after a BJP leader tweeted to them that the talk was an “anti-Hindu programme”. However, police left the venue after the organisers demanded the police to state this in writing.

Worried about the police’s regular intervention, M A Nayeem, a volunteer at Lamakaan said, “The police probably doesn’t want to mess with the BJP as Kishan Reddy is the MoS of Home now. Talks on fascism are being curbed, which is telling about the current dispensation. Liberal freethinking spaces are shrinking.”

 

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