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Pune University Professor and Students Held After ABVP’s ‘Ruckus’ over Play ‘Hurting’ Religious Sentiments

A group of college professor strongly criticised the arrest of the students and the professor.
Lalit Kala Kendra

Image courtesy: Hindustan Times

Pune: In a recent development at Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), a professor and five students were arrested on charges of hurting religious sentiments during the staging of an experimental play titled 'Jab We Met' on Friday evening.

They were also charged with rioting – after a clash with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) – and were granted bail by a Pune court on Saturday evening, according to a report by The Times of India (TOI).

The play, organised by the Lalit Kala Kendra (Centre for Performing Arts), depicted banter between actors portraying various roles in 'Ramleela', said the report.

The arrests came after a clash between the students involved in the play and members of the ABVP, who objected to the play's content, alleging objectionable dialogues and scenes. The incident led to the play being halted and subsequent legal action against the professor and students.

A group of college professors has strongly criticised the arrest of the students and the professor (head of a department of the university).

Responding to the situation, SPPU announced the formation of a fact-finding committee chaired by a retired district judge. The committee is tasked with investigating the incident, and the university stated that appropriate actions will be taken based on its report, according to the TOI report.

The Pune Police have increased security on the campus to prevent further tensions, deploying special teams. Pune Commissioner of Police, Amitesh Kumar, was quoted as saying by the TOI, “It is a sensitive issue and our teams are pacifying both parties. A strong team has been deployed on the university premises to avert any further trouble there. We will take appropriate legal action against both the parties."

Vice-chancellor Suresh Gosavi clarified the university's position, according to the TOI report, stating, "We do not support the students on the issue of staging the parody play, but those who objected to the play could have sat with the former, and the issue could have been resolved amicably."

As the fact-finding committee begins its investigation, the SPPU campus remains under heightened security.

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