Pune: Lalit Kala Kendra Alumni Unite In Support Amidst Controversy, Say 'HoD, Students Real Victim'

Pune: Lalit Kala Kendra Alumni Unite In Support Amidst Controversy, Say 'HoD, Students Real Victim'

Emphasising deep respect for diversity, they clarified that the department's performances were not intended to offend any religious sentiments.

Aakash SinghUpdated: Thursday, February 08, 2024, 02:58 PM IST
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Pune: Lalit Kala Kendra Alumni Unite In Support Amidst Controversy, Say 'HoD, Students Real Victim' |

In the aftermath of the controversy surrounding a 'Ramleela' play at Savitribai Phule Pune University's Lalit Kala Kendra, alumni have issued a statement "strongly condemning the disruption, violence."

Emphasising deep respect for diversity, they clarified that the department's performances were not intended to offend any religious sentiments.

The statement expresses deep dismay over police complaints against university students and the Head of Department (HOD), asserting that they are the real victims. The department, students, and HOD are now unfairly targeted, deliberately defamed, and maligned through disinformation in circulated videos and on social media, it added.

Urging an end to inappropriate slander, they requested adequate protection for faculty and students from the university administration and police. Acknowledging the legal proceedings underway, they appealed for respect for the Constitution and the legal system. In a show of solidarity, the alumni affirmed their support for the students, HOD, and faculty of Lalit Kala Kendra (Gurukul)

This follows the arrest of a professor and five students from Pune University for allegedly hurting religious sentiments during a 'Ramleela' play, which reportedly contained objectionable dialogues and scenes. Subsequently, they were released on bail.

The alumni association, in its statement, said that it stands united against the disruption, violence, damage, and trauma inflicted on the department's students, faculty, examiners, and the audience by certain factions or groups.

Row over the play

"If there was anything objectionable to be found by any members in the audience in one of the several play presentations that were made that evening, those members should have waited for the examination performances to conclude before formally registering their objections with the university authorities by due formal process. It is unacceptable that these groups disregarded and flouted university examination rules," it added.

Last week, a scuffle broke out during the play between members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and students from Pune University's Lalit Kala Kendra. In response, leaders and workers of the Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha (BJYM) staged a protest on the institute's premises.

The play, presented by the Lalit Kala Kendra (Centre for Performing Arts), depicted the backstage banter of actors in various roles of 'Ramleela.' The FIR mentioned objectionable scenes, such as a male artist portraying Sita smoking a cigarette and using abusive language.

The Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) administration, in a statement, clarified its non-support for the mockery of icons and issued an apology if sentiments were hurt. The SPPU has initiated a 'fact-finding committee,' led by a retired district judge, to investigate the incident. Appropriate action will be taken based on the committee's report.

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