Chennai: The Chennai police on Sunday stopped a band from playing a song as it had the word ‘Modi’ in it at the Chennai Kalai Theru Vizha.
The ongoing event, being held at Elliot’s Beach, was earlier referred to as Urur Olcott Kuppam Vizha and involves cultural performances from various artists.
On Sunday, the performers of the band Casteless Collective, organised by filmmaker Pa Ranjith, took to the stage to sing some songs but they were asked to stop as soon as they began singing a song with the word ‘Modi’ in it.
“The policeman on duty stepped up on stage and asked that the microphones be switched off. The band then stopped the song and played one more before getting off stage,” a member of the audience said. Speaking to media representatives, who had gathered after the band was asked to stop playing, the cop said that they had asked for permission to perform without any communal or caste-wise discrimination but went on to sing about the Prime Minister. They were to perform seven songs and while they had sung six songs already, it was the seventh song which reportedly concerned the police. Tenma, who produces and leads the Casteless Collective said, “The song is titled Modi Mastan. It is about rituals in general and politics. They asked to stop the song and wanted us to switch off the microphone.
We didn’t know what to do and stopped. Our band’s songs are all educational, not for agitation. Our intention is not to instigate or make people fight.” Nityanand Jayaraman, one of the organisers of the festival, said that the band was asked to stop even before the first line of the song was done. “All we know is that they talked about the country being looted. There are many “Modis” — Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi. They just thought it was a nice song about people who run away with the country’s bounty. But we respected the sentiment of the police and requested the musicians to stop,” he said. “The problem is with the situation that has been created in this country where even the mention of a name — a vitiation of the social environment-has come to be hugely problematic in a country which celebrates the right to free speech and tolerance,” Jayaraman concluded.