Pune, 3rd February 2024: In a recent development, Pune police have arrested six students from Lalit Kala Kendra and Dr Praveen Bhole, the head of the Savitribai Phule Pune University’s (SPPU) Centre for Performing Arts, in connection with a controversial play staged at SPPU. The play, performed as part of an internal practical examination for students, depicted Lord Shri Ram and Sita Mata using offensive language and portrayed deities engaging in inappropriate activities, such as smoking. The arrests were made following an investigation into the script’s approval and the ensuing controversy.
Senior Police Inspector Balaji Pandhre confirmed the arrests, signalling a decisive response to address the concerns raised by the controversial play.
In an official statement, Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) acknowledged the incident, stating that an experimental play was being performed at the Fine Arts Center on February 2, 2024. The university noted that certain content and statements in the play were deemed objectionable, leading to a verbal argument among students. Security agencies intervened promptly, followed by the involvement of the police, who filed a complaint and initiated legal action.
The university emphasized its commitment to maintaining law and order within its premises, discouraging anyone from taking matters into their own hands. Various organizations have raised concerns about the play, citing hurt religious sentiments. The university acknowledged the inappropriateness of parodying any person, legend, or historical figure and disavowed such practices.
To address the incident, the university has established a fact-finding committee chaired by a retired district judge. The committee will investigate the matter and submit a report, based on which necessary administrative action will be taken by prescribed rules. The university issued an apology if anyone’s feelings were hurt by the incident.