BENGALURU: It was a face-palm situation for the police as they were against a pro-Naxal theatre group staging a play in the city, but ended up providing protection to them.
The Pune-based ‘Kabir Kala Manch’ (KKM), a group of protest singers, who launched ‘Nirankusha: Fearless, Speech’ a free speech-themed festival in the city featuring visual exhibitions and performances organised by the Alternative Law Forum (ALF), Bengaluru in collaboration with Media and Arts Collective (Maraa) and Suresh Kumar were reportedly hounded by the intelligence and police officials, who tried to stop the performance, warning them a of backlash from a right wing group.
“We were scheduled to perform at the St Joseph’s College of Arts & Commerce on Friday between 4 pm and 6 pm, but were requested by the host to change the venue after the police warned them of attacks by the right wing activists.
We had no time and sought permission from Father Ambrose Pinto, head of St. Aloysius College in Cox Town and he gave us permission. Even there, a team of intelligence and police officials came and warned the college authorities that the performers are pro-Naxals and there could be trouble if they were allowed to be performed, as they were banned according to the intelligence and the police officials.
But that did not deter Father Pinto and he asked the cops to give them in writing that the group was banned. But they didn’t give any such submission and the performance carried on without any trouble,” said Shantanu Chakraborty of Alternative Law Forum.
Shruthi Menon of Maraa said that around 2 pm a team of 25 policemen from Pulakeshi Nagar Police Station informed the principal of St. Aloysius College that the performance should not be carried because the group had Naxal links.
The police were reportedly informed by the college principal that unless a court order was produced, there will be music and those, who wished to hear them would be welcome.
“This is a college, a private property, and to have performance by a small group to educate students and the public on caste discrimination and communalism, why should anybody seek police permission?” asked Fr Pinto.
“To my knowledge, neither me nor the organisers had sought for a police permission to go ahead with the event, and I have no clue why the police turned up with an unsought permission letter,” Fr. Pinto added....