Pune (Maharashtra): A professor and five students of Savitribai Phule Pune University were arrested for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of the Hindu community.
In a viral video showing the play being staged at Pune University, a male artist portraying Sita was shown smoking a cigarette and using abusive language.
Based on a complaint lodged by the ABVP functionary, a case was registered under section 295 (A) (deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class) and other relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code, police stated.
The police have arrested Dr Pravin Bhole, the head of the department of the Lalit Kala Kendra, and students Bhavesh Patil, Jay Pednekar, Prathamesh Sawant, Rishikesh Dalvi and Yash Chikhle.
“The play depicted a male actor playing the role of Sita engaging in smoking and using offensive language,” according to First Information Report (FIR).
Balaji Misal, a student of the Defence and Strategic Studies Department of SPPU, told “the play is about a group of Ramleela actors who are dressed up in the characters of Ram, Sita, Laxman and Ravan, and are waiting in the dressing room for another actor to join them. The conversation that is being called objectionable was set in the dressing room where the actors are talking amongst themselves”
The university has formed a fact finding committee headed by a retired district judge to investigate the matter. “Parody of any person, legend or historical figure is completely wrong and prohibited,” the university stated in its press release.
Police produced the six accused persons before a court in Pune on February 5. The court remanded them to magesterial custody.
Subsequently, the accused applied for bail.